Nigerian President was at the ECOWAS Heads of Government meetings in Abuja

News

President Muhammadu Buhari Saturday participated at the 54th Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the ECOWAS in Abuja.

Speaking at the session, Buhari said: “Despite these successes, ECOWAS is still confronted by several challenges. The sub-region continues to face difficulties in the economic, governance, peace, security and humanitarian fields.”

According to him, “These lofty ideals are however not attainable without peace and security. That is why I have decided to make the issue of peace and security the major focus of my Chairmanship. I am happy to inform this august assembly that our efforts have started yielding dividends as we have been able to douse tension and restore confidence in some potentially disruptive political situations, particularly in Guinea Bissau, Togo and Mali.

“It is a matter of concern that terrorism and violent extremism have continued to threaten the peace and security in our sub-region. This threat calls for collective action on our part, if we are to effectively and definitively eliminate it. As we work on new strategies to combat and eradicate this menace, we require the support of our partners…”

Read the full text of President Buhari’s statement here:

https://lnkd.in/gJ23tRY

Advertisements

Libyan commander declares ‘zero hour’ for campaign to take city — peoples trust toronto

Africa, News, Politics

https://ift.tt/eA8V8J May 7, 2018 By Ayman al-Warfalli BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) – Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar announced the start of military operations to “liberate” Derna on Monday after his forces clashed with rivals on the outskirts of the eastern city. “Zero hour for the liberation of Derna has struck. Our army forces are now targeting their […]

via Libyan commander declares ‘zero hour’ for campaign to take city — peoples trust toronto

By Ayman al-Warfalli
BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) – Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar announced the start of military operations to “liberate” Derna on Monday after his forces clashed with rivals on the outskirts of the eastern city.
“Zero hour for the liberation of Derna has struck. Our army forces are now targeting their hideouts,” Haftar said in a speech at a military parade in Benghazi.
“We have given instructions to avoid civilians,” he said. “The peace efforts in Derna have reached a dead end.”
Derna is the last major bastion of opposition to Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) in the east of the country.
The LNA has encircled the city, on the coastal highway between Benghazi and Egypt, and has long threatened to begin ground operations there. However, its campaign has so far been limited to encirclement along with occasional air strikes and bombardments.
Derna is controlled by a coalition of Islamist militants and rebel veterans known as the Derna Mujahideen Shura Council. Egypt, which backs the LNA, has also carried out air strikes in Derna on what it said were training camps sending militants into Egypt.
In recent weeks the LNA has deployed new units in the Derna area and at the end of last month Haftar made a rare visit to forces stationed outside the city, following his return from medical treatment in France. [nL8N1S3AKZ]
After Libya split between rival camps in the east and west of the country in 2014, Haftar gradually emerged as the dominant figure in the east. He is aligned with a parliament and government based in the east and opposes the internationally recognized government in the capital, Tripoli.
On Monday he was attending a military parade in Benghazi to mark the fourth anniversary of the start of his “Dignity Operation”, the campaign in which the LNA battled Islamists and other rivals to take control of Benghazi last year.
The United Nations is leading efforts to stabilize Libya and prepare it for elections before the end of the year, but armed violence is still common across the country.

(Writing by Aidan Lewis; editing by Andrew Roche)
Vía One America News Network https://ift.tt/2rsjGjR

Dino Melaye: Ozekhome reveals what Buhari is trying to do

APC, News, PMB, Politics

mik

Mike Ozekhome, the lawyer to embattled Senator Dino Melaye, has claimed that President Muhammadu Buhari administration is trying to crush his opponents ahead of the 2019 elections, adopting strategies reminiscent of Adolph Hitler’s Nazi regime.

Speaking to Channels Television on Tuesday, Ozekhome claimed Melaye was abducted by the police with the aim of forcefully arraigning him at a Federal High Court in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital.

“It is a sad reminder of Hitler’s Gestapo strategies of attempting to annihilate all opponents.

“Nigerians have to wake up to the realities of the perilous times that we are now going through and more perilous times in the days, the weeks, the months ahead because of 2019 elections,” Ozekhome said.

Hours after Senator Melaye’s arrest on Tuesday morning by the police, he jumped from a moving police vehicle, injuring himself in the process.

He was subsequently taken to a hospital in Abuja .

Oshiomole’s endorsement foolish, childish – Oyegun

2019 Elections, APC, News
oyegun-buhari-and-tinubu

Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has described the purported endorsement of Adams Oshiomhole by stakeholders of the party from the South-South geopolitical zone as childish and a foolish charade.

The South South APC leaders were reported to have endorsed former Edo State governor, Adams Oshiomhole, as the concensus candidate of the zone for the national chairmanship position.

But few minutes after the meeting, four state chairmen of the party and other party leaders washed their hands off the resolution, saying they were “ambushed.”

Oyegun speaking to newsmen on Tuesday at the party’s headquarters in Abuja stated that Oshiomhole cannot be elected in Edo State government house.

He pointed out that the said endorsement was clear indication that “the trumpeters do not understand the rule of the game.

“The endorsement is childish, absolutely childish. The voting is done at the convention and not in State houses, not in government houses.”

When asked why he was being rejected by his hometown, Oyegun said it should be expected, adding that he was not bothered at all by the apparent hostility.

 

DailyPost 

Lazy Youths: “Critics Inciting Youths Against Buhari” – Lai Mohammed

2019 Elections, News, Politics

lie.jpg

The Minister of Information and Culture , Lai Mohammed , says President Muhammadu Buhari has passion and concern for Nigerian youths, as opposed to what the critics of his administration want the people to believe. He said this on Friday in Abeokuta, Ogun State while fielding questions from journalists at the ongoing African Drum Festival .

The minister dismissed reports quoting President Buhari as describing all Nigerian youths as lazy and always waiting for free things .
He noted that the current administration had invested in the youth with some of its programmes.

He said , “ Some people have just made it their full -time job these days to scrutinise and twist whatever the President says out of context .
“ I wonder how a government that has employed 100 ,000 unemployed graduates and also feeds about 7 . 5 million people daily could be tagged anti- youth.
“ Our social investment programmes have continued to generate jobs and create opportunities for our teeming youths while our empowerment programmes have been providing soft loans to over 400 , 000 youths .
“ Millions of families and individuals have also continued to benefit from our Conditional Cash Transfer initiative .
“ This is a government that is so concerned and passionate about youth development and it is not right for people to begin to quote Mr . President out of context and thereby incite the youths against the government .”

Northern youths under the auspices of Arewa Youths Consultative Forum on Friday went hard on President Muhammadu Buhari over his recent remarks in London that a lot of young persons in the country prefer to sit without working, stressing that the criticism is an insult on all Nigerian youths.

 

Read More at: 2019 Elections

News, Politics

Presidency: Buhari Didn’t Deride Nigerian Youths

News, Nigeria, PMB, Politics

Buhari

By Omololu Ogunmade in London

The presidency Thursday in London, denied the insinuations that President Muhammadu Buhari mocked Nigerian youths while speaking at the Commonwealth Business Forum, a session of the ongoing Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) on Wednesday.

The president, after giving a keynote address on “Making Business Easier Between Commonwealth Countries,” had responded to a question, during which he said: “We have a very young population; our population is estimated conservatively to be 180 million. More than 60 per cent of the population is below the age of 30. A lot of them have not been to school and they are claiming that Nigeria has been an oil producing country, therefore they should sit and do nothing and get housing, healthcare and education free.”
The president’s remark was however accompanied by a wild outrage among Nigerians who accused him of “attacking” the youths of his country on global stage.

But in a swift reaction to the outrage Thursday, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President’s Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, said the remark was twisted as it is “typical of the stock in trade” of those he described as “manipulators and twisters of statements of Mr. President, who lie in wait to make mischief”.

According to him, such persons who have cultivated the habit of misinterpreting the president’s comment, twisted it “to mean that President Buhari had taken all Nigerian youths to the cleaners”.
According to him, elementary English recognises a wide gulf between “a lot of” and the word “all,” adding: “How can ‘a lot of them,’ suddenly transmogrify to mean ‘all of them?’ Mischievous and unconscionable!”

He said it was impossible for Buhari, whom he described as the father of the Nigerian nation in every sense of the word, and who equally has biological children of his own in the youths’ age bracket to pass a vote of no confidence on all youths, adding: “It can only exist in the imagination of those who play what the president has described as ‘irresponsible politics’ with everything.”

Adesina added: “President Buhari has always applauded and celebrated Nigerian youths who excel in different areas of endeavour, from sports, to academia, and other realms. And he will continue to do so, because he values the youths, and knows that they are the fulcrum on which the future of the country rests.

“Indeed, every country has its share of idle population, and it is the bounden duty of government at all levels, to create an enabling environment for them to actualize their potentials. That is what President Buhari is committed to doing.

“The focal areas of the administration; securing the country, reviving the economy, and fighting corruption, are actually intended to give youths a future and a hope.

“This much was emphasised in an April 5, 2018 comment by President Buhari, while receiving Letter of Credence from the Head of Delegation of the European Union to Nigeria, when he said: ‘Our insistence on probity is to encourage people to be accountable, and accept honesty as a lifestyle so as to secure the future of our youths.’
“The President also said more than 60 per cent of Nigerians fall into the age category of youths and deserve to inherit a stable and prosperous country that they can be proud of, adding that the government will work assiduously to prevent waste and the depletion of resources by corrupt Nigerians.
“It is futile for mischief makers to lie in wait, and take a minor part of the words of the president, and turn it into negative commentary, peradventure they could diminish the profile of the President.
“Nigerians across all walks of life know who is serving them faithfully and truly, and they will always reciprocate such fidelity as occasions demand.”

Police: 5 Suspects being Questioned in the Senate Mace Snatching Saga

News, Nigeria, Politics

omo agegeThe names of five persons who reportedly entered the Senate to steal the mace which is the symbol of authority of the Red Chamber have emerged. According to Daily Independent, the names emerged on Wednesday, April 18 hours after they were arrested by the FCT Police Command.

READ ALSO: Nothing will deter us from defending our constitutional mandate – Saraki The suspects were allegedly led into the Senate by Senator Ovie Omo-Agege as a protest against his suspension. The five suspects who are all from Delta state are: Tuoyo Mabiaku – Warri North Local Government Area Peter Orede – Warri South LGA Blessing Edjeke from Abraka In Ethiope East LGA Lucky Okomu from Oghara in Ethiope West LGA Prince Enayemo – Ughelli South LGA NAIJ.com had reported that protesters stormed the Senate chamber on Wednesday, April 18, and stole the mace. The protesters are supporters of a suspended senator, Ovie Omo-Agege.

They left the National Assembly with the mace in a black SUV. The mace is the symbol of authority of the parliament. A security personnel at the entrance of the National Assembly, said he was told by the protesters they were officers with the senator.

Nothing will deter us from defending our constitutional mandate – Saraki

News, Nigeria, Politics, Uncategorized

Saraki 1

Senate President, Bukola Saraki condemned the attack on the Senate by hoodlums – The Senate president said those responsible will be dealt with –                                                    He commended his colleagues for standing their ground

Senate president, Bukola Saraki bas reacted to the attack on the Senate by suspected hoodlums describing it as an attack on the country’s democracy. Saraki spoke from Washington where he is attending the Spring Meeting of the World Bank/International Monetary Fund on Wednesday, April 18.  He commended the deputy Senate president, Ike Ekweremadu and other members of the Red Chamber for their swift reaction. He said those responsible will be brought to justice and vowed that they will continue to defend their constitutional mandate.

His message to the Senators reads:

Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has commended the leadership and all members of the Senate for standing up firmly in defence of democracy and the rule of law with their decision to defy those who machinated an attack on the Red Chambers of the National Assembly in which the mace was forcefully taken away. Saraki, speaking from Washington where he is attending the Spring Meeting of the World Bank/International Monetary Fund (IMF), also lauded the swift reaction by the leadership and members of the House of Representatives in demonstrating their solidarity with the red chamber and thereby sending a strong signal that enemies of democracy and those who want to undermine the legislature will be resisted by all parliamentarians.

“I have just been informed that some hoodlums invaded the Senate chambers, forcefully taken away the mace and assaulted some of our Sergeant-at-arms on chamber duties. I am delighted that the Senate stood up to them by disregarding their unreasonable and shameful action and went on with the day’s proceedings as slated in the Order Paper. “My commendation goes to my deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, other members of the leadership, my colleagues, the leadership and members of the House of Representatives for standing in defence of democracy, parliamentary sanctity and constitutionalism.

“With the way the Senate has defied those seeking to undermine it, we have sent out a strong signal that we are always ready to defend our constitutional mandate and nothing will deter us from this. “I associate myself with the comments of the Deputy Senate President that we are ready to get to the roots of this assault on democracy and ensure that those who are responsible, no matter how remote, will be brought to justice”, Saraki stated. NAIJ.com had reported that protesters stormed the Senate chamber on Wednesday, April 18, and stole the mace. The protesters are supporters of a suspended senator, Ovie Omo-Agege.  They left the National Assembly with the mace in a black SUV. The mace is the symbol of authority of the parliament. A security personnel at the entrance of the National Assembly, said he was told by the protesters they were officers with the senator.

Two Reps members dump PDP for APGA

2019 Elections, Nigeria, PDP, Politics

House of RepsThe Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has lost two of its members in the House of Representatives to the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).

The two members, Ben Nwankwo and Anayo Nnebe, both from Anambra State made their decisions known in separate letters read on the floor of the House by the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara.

The duo claimed that there was division in the state chapter of the PDP, a party which sponsored their election to the House of Representatives.

The defection of Messrs Nwankwo and Nnebe is the first in favour of APGA since the inauguration of the 8th Assembly in 2015.

PDP has been the major casualty of defection of members since 2015 as it has lost at least 15 of its members and gained only 1 from the APC.

APGA now has three members in the House of Representatives, making it the third political party with representation in the National Assembly after APC and PDP.

2019 Election! Buhari Appoints Festus Keyamo As Spokesperson For His 2019 Presidential Campaigns — Oraks News Hub

2019 Elections, APC, PDP, PMB, Politics

President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr Festus Keyamo, as the Director, Strategic Communications in respect to the forthcoming 2019 presidential campaigns. Consequently, Keyamo is now the official spokesperson for the 2019 presidential campaigns of President Buhari. The lawyer shared the letter of appointment on his Twitter page writing: “With this […]

via 2019 Election! Buhari Appoints Festus Keyamo As Spokesperson For His 2019 Presidential Campaigns — Oraks News Hub

2019: IBB endorses SDP

2019 Elections, APC, PDP, personality, PMB, Politics, Power

2019: IBB endorses SDP

Former Military President and chieftain of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, General Ibrahim Babangida, IBB, yesterday shocked many when he openly declared support for the Social Democratic Party, SDP, led by former Secretary to Government of the Federation, SGF, Chief Olu Falae. Speaking in Minna over the weekend when the national leadership of the party visited him at his hill-top mansion in Minna, Babangida said the party was real and smart, with the zeal to deliver democratic dividends to the people.

“If I hadn’t been too old, I would have loved to join the youths vanguard of your party. I have faith in the political party, for what it is and what it stands for. When I heard in the news that a party has come on board, the first thing that occurred to me was that the name sounds familiar, so I made a decision that I will wait and see how it plays out.

ibb1General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd),

‘’I was looking at how SDP will populate itself. And then the next pleasing thing that I heard was that it has people like Olu Falae, Professor Jerry Gana, Professor Adeniran. “After that I said this party is real, because most of the names are names that I have known and I have worked with and for the sake of this country, so I said the party is smart to convinced all these gentlemen to come and join them. ‘

’That is why I did not hesitate to give direction to those who came to me to seek advice on which direction to go.” Babangida pointed out that the vision he had for the country was the same vision that is shared by those driving the party, adding that “the security and well being of Nigerians are very important and you have identified this in your programme, so Nigerians must rally round you and support you to ensure that this is realizable.” Babangida urged the younger generation and women to give their support to SDP as it is “populated by men of integrity, men who when they work, they work well, when they speak, they speak well.”

Babangida then advised the leadership of the party to make its manifestos public to Nigerians, so they could be held accountable. In his address earlier, the National Chairman of the Party, Chief Olu Falae, said they were in the state to see General Babangida as part of the party’s nationwide consultation to brief him on the activities of the party and to solicit for his support and wise counselling.

 

 

Arab leaders meet to unify ranks with eye on Iran, Jerusalem

Middle East, SYRIA

Arab leaders meet to unify ranks with eye on Iran, Jerusalem


Billboards with photos of Saudi King Salman and Arabic that reads, “welcome” line the road to the convention center where Arab leaders are meeting for an Arab summit meeting in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, Sunday, April 15, 2018. The summit opened in the eastern Saudi city of Dhahran as tensions with Iran and wars in Syria and Yemen threaten stability across the region. Salman told leaders from across the 22-member Arab League that Iran was to blame for instability and meddling in the region. (Amr Nabil/Associated Press)
RABRABB
DHAHRAN, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia used its perch as host of an annual gathering of Arab leaders on Sunday to push for a unified stance against rival Iran as the regional powerhouses vie for the upper hand in wars in Syria and Yemen.

Saudi King Salman told leaders from across the 22-member Arab League that Iran was to blame for instability and meddling in the region. He said Yemeni rebel Houthis, backed by Iran, had fired 116 missiles at the kingdom since Saudi Arabia went to war in Yemen three years ago to try and roll back Houthi gains there.

The summit took place in the oil-rich eastern Saudi city of Dhahran, a location that may have been selected by the kingdom to avoid cross-border Houthi missile strikes that have targeted the capital, Riyadh, and southern border cities.

While locked in proxy conflicts in Yemen and Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iran also back opposing groups in Lebanon, Bahrain and Iraq.

The summit this year takes place after the U.S., Britain and France launched dozens of strikes early Saturday at sites they said were linked to Syrian chemical weapons program. President Bashar Assad and his close ally, Russia, have denied government forces ever used such weapons.

Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit said Assad’s government and “international players trying to achieve their own strategic political goals” bear responsibility for the crisis there.

“Regional interference in Arab affairs has reached an unprecedented degree. And first of these is the Iranian interference, the aim of which is not for the well-being of the Arabs or their interests,” he said.

The Saudi monarch made no reference to Syria in his remarks before Arab leaders amid divisions within the region-wide body over support for the U.S.-led airstrikes on Syria. The kingdom, as well as Bahrain and Qatar, have issued statements backing Saturday’s strikes on military targets in Syria. More wary of the widening conflict are countries like Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon.

A final statement by the 22-member states refrained from supporting or criticizing those strikes. The league said it condemns the use of chemical weapons, but did not lay direct blame on any one party.

Assad was not invited to the summit, though most heads of state from across the Middle East and North Africa attended the Arab League meeting, including Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes in Darfur.

At the start of the summit, Aboul-Gheit lamented a lack of consensus among Arab states on regional security.

“The crises burning in some corners of the Arab world today… cast a shadow over the safety and security over the entire region,” Aboul-Gheit said. “These take a toll on the national security of all of us.”

Instead, Arab heads of state stressed unity and unwavering support for Palestinians. King Salman reiterated Saudi Arabia’s rejection of the U.S. decision to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Despite the monarch’s stern words of condemnation, Saudi Arabia has strengthened ties with Washington under the Trump administration.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir defended those ties, saying “there is no contradiction” with having very strong strategic ties with the U.S. while advising against certain policies.

“The fact that we have very strong ties with the U.S. over history, and the Trump administration in particular, is a positive factor, not a negative factor in trying to help guide them towards a positive engagement in the Middle East,” al-Jubeir told reporters after the summit.

Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, announced at the summit a $150 million donation to the religious administration that oversees Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque— one of Islam’s holiest sites. The kingdom announced another $50 million for programs run by the U.N. relief agency for Palestinians after the U.S. slashed its aid.

The strongest criticism of the Trump administration came from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

“The decisions have made the United States a party to the conflict and not a neutral mediator,” Abbas said at the summit.

Saudi tensions with neighboring Qatar were on display at the summit. Qatar’s emir was not in attendance, instead dispatching his country’s Arab League representative to the meeting. While the Qatari flag was erected alongside other member-state flags on the streets of Dhahran, the country’s representative did not appear in a group photo of the top delegates in attendance.

Tensions erupted nearly a year ago when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed ties with Qatar and imposed a de facto blockade on the small Gulf state. The four accuse Qatar of sponsoring terrorism because of its support for Islamist opposition groups in the region and its warm relations with Iran. Qatar denies the allegations and says the moves attempt to undermine its sovereignty.

The standoff with Qatar, however, did not feature in summit deliberations.

Associated Press writer Maggie Hyde in Beirut contributed to this report.

SYria Bombing Update: 105 missiles were launched in strikes against Syria

international News, Military, Politics, Power, SYRIA

105 missiles were launched in strikes against Syria

In a briefing on Saturday morning, the Pentagon provided the following breakdown of the military weapons used to strike Syrian targets overnight.

 

From the Red Sea:

USS Monterey (Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser) – 30 Tomahawk missiles

USS Laboon (Arleigh Burke-class destroyer) – 7 Tomahawk missiles

From the North Arabian Gulf:

USS Higgins (Arleigh Burke-class destroyer) – 23 Tomahawk missiles

From the eastern Mediterranean:

USS John Warner (Virginia class submarine) – 6 Tomahawk missiles

A French frigate ship (could not understand name) – 3 missiles (naval version of SCALP missiles)

From the air:

2 B-1 Lancer bombers – 19 joint air to surface standoff missiles

British flew a combination of Tornado and Typhoon jets – 8 storm shadow missiles

French flew a combination of Rafales and Mirages – 9 SCALP missiles

A US Defense Department photo of the missile strikes against Syria conducted on April 14. The guided missile cruiser USS Monterey fired a Tomahawk missile in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. 

Pentagon: Clear message to Syrian regime

Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the director of the Joint Staff, said that the strikes on Syria overnight by US and allies were “a powerful show of allied unity.”

“We deployed 105 weapons against three targets that will significantly impact the Syrian regimes ability to develop, deploy and use chemical weapons in the future. It’s been said before but I want to emphasize again that by compassion, this strike was double the size of the last strike in April 2017.”

CNN

@CNN

Pentagon says that by comparison, this strike in Syria was “double the size” of the last strike in April, 2017 https://cnn.it/2HAL1rA 

Pentagon: Strikes will set back Syria’s chemical weapons “for years”

Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the director of the Joint Staff, said that the coordinated strikes which struck targets in Syria overnight will set the country’s chemical weapons capability back “for years.”

He added that “none of our aircraft or missiles in this operation were successfully engaged” by Syrian regime.

Map of US-led airstrikes in Syria provided by the US Department of Defense.

Basic Facts and development on US and Collation Strike in Syria

Military, Politics, Power, SYRIA

Strikes in Syria: The US, UK and France launched coordinated air strikes in Syria, hitting targets associated with the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons program.

How we got here: The US and its allies blame Syria for an apparent chemical attack on the city of Douma just over a week ago. US President Trump and UK Prime Minister May said such action could not go unchallenged.

Pentagon: “2,000%” increase in Russian trolls in the last 24-hours

Chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana White ended a press briefing on Saturday by highlighting that the US had seen a “2,000%” increase in Russian trolls in the last 24-hours. White had been providing an update of the latest developments from overnight airstrikes on Syrian targets by US, UK and French forces.

The Russian disinformation campaign has already begun. There has been a 2,000% increase in Russian trolls in the last 24 hours therefore we will keep you all abreast of the facts moving forward.”

CNN

@CNN

Reporter: Can we expect any kind of retaliation after Syria strike?

Lt. Gen. McKenzie: “I can’t speak to that, but I can tell you that we’re ready for it. We’re postured both in the region and globally … we’re ready for anything.” https://cnn.it/2HAL1rA 

Why I’ll Vote Buhari Again And Again – Femi Adesina

2019 Elections, APC, PMB, Politics
Why I’ll Vote Buhari Again And Again – Femi Adesina
FEMI-ADESINA
Femi Adesina
The greatest talking point in our country this week has been the declaration by President Muhammadu Buhari that he would seek a second term in office next year. And naturally so. Desire by any President, whether positive or negative, should elicit great interest in the citizenry. The President that should be pitied is the one that says something, and the people just shrug, unconcernedly. He is of all men the most miserable.
As to be expected, the notice given by President Buhari has engendered diverse emotions and reactions. The joy kiln has ben kindled in the hearts of many millions. They are exultant and ecstatic. I am in that number.
While millions are like Romeos beholding their Juliets, others on the flip-side, however, are like King Leah at his worst. It was as if they got blows to the solar plexus. Ouch! And they are wailing, kicking and screaming. Mournfully so. The days of their rustication from power will be extended, and they can’t bear it. Doomsday is elongated, doors to freebies shut again. They are quite vocal, but much smaller in number, and the elections next year will so prove. There’s still plenty where the bloody nose of 2015 came from.
Now, despite the challenges in the country (and very many of them), from Enugu to Borno, Benue to Zamfara, Oke Ogun farmlands in Oyo to Mambilla in Taraba, Plateau to Edo/Delta, virtually everywhere, why is President Buhari still the man to beat? That is the purpose of this piece.
Some of the challenges in the country are genuine. Some others are orchestrated by those the President would say are playing “irresponsible politics.” For such people, they would first urinate inside the well they want to draw drinking water from. They would gladly step into power, treading on skulls and crossbones, and on the flowing blood of innumerable countrymen. Ogres! But Nigerians are wiser. They know those who are serving them, and who wish to serve more for altruistic reasons. They also know those who just want to grab power, so that the country can return to business as usual, and their snouts can be dipped in the honeypot once again.
I’ll vote for President Buhari over and over, again and again, because he can be trusted. You can trust him with the resources of the country. He won’t filch them. You can trust him with power. He won’t misuse it. You can trust him with the well being of the land, he cares. I remember one night, I had gone to the residence to see the President. It was about 8 p.m, and there were just two of us in the waiting room. The other elderly fellow has held power at very senior levels in the country. He had even aspired for the highest office in the land. So, he knows what he’s talking about.
He told me: “Look at this sprawling place. Just two of us waiting to see the President. It didn’t use to be like this. Up to 3 a.m daily, the place used to be like a market, filled with men, women from within and outside the country. They would come to seal all kinds of deals on petroleum, power, transport, iron and steel, and all others. And of course, the President and his household would always have a cut. The wheeler-dealers would also have their cut. Who dares approach this President with such proposals? That is why you see so much sanity here.”
A President who won’t sell our collective patrimony while the rest of the country is sleeping. That’s the one I want. And we all know that man.
Accountability is another reason. Under some presidents, the rich gets richer, while the poor gets prison. Not under Buhari. The resources of the country are for the people of the country. Greatest good to the greatest number of people. The last administration (we won’t and can’t stop talking about them, never!) sat over resources in billions of dollars. Oil prices hit $140 dollars per barrel under their watch, and stabilized at about $100-110 for a number of years. They met our foreign reserves at $62 billion. When they left, it was just $29.6, yet oil prices had hit the rooftops. What happened? Thievery.
Today, with oil prices having dropped to about $30 per barrel in 2015, and now oscillating between 60 and 70 dollars per barrel, our reserves have hit $47 billion, and still growing. Prudence. Transparency. Resourcefulness. Accountability. Will I then exchange this type of government for another? That would mean willful blindness, after our sights had been amazingly restored.
That would mean willful backsliding into perdition, after we had been wonderfully saved.
Still talking of accountability, you must have heard of the billions and trillions of naira that accrued to government from agencies like Customs, Federal Inland Revenue Service, NIMASA, JAMB, and many others in recent times. These agencies are not newly created. So, what happened to revenues they made in the past? Your guess is as good as mine. Will I then leave terra firma for terra incognita? God forbid! Because an accountable man is in the driver’s seat, the virtue is now flowing downwards.
Elections are coming. And there’s no need to fear. Why? Because the will of Nigerians will not be subverted. Never! A President once told us in this country that the coming polls would be do or die. Not with President Buhari. Fair is fair.
No foul play. Under his watch, his political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has lost gubernatorial elections in Bayelsa and Anambra states. At the last Council of States meeting, Gov Willie Obiano publicly registered his appreciation to President Buhari, for the level playing ground he made available during the election in his state. With do or die apostles, and a certain political party in power, such would never happen. Not with their garrison mentality. All states are territories that must be conquered, willy-nilly.
APC has won gubernatorial positions under Buhari in Kogi, Ondo and Edo states. The victories were fair and square. The party lost in Bayelsa and Anambra. This President would never manipulate victory for anyone, not even his own party. And you ask me not to trust him? I will, and no mistake.
Global respect. That is what Nigeria has today. I’ve accompanied President Buhari to over 30 countries in about three years. And he has been resetting the buttons, relaying the foundation of relationships with those countries. And how the leaders respect him. And they say it. Barrack Obama, the then American President said the Nigerian leader came to his job with a “reputation of integrity.” At another time, while introducing our President to the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, he said:”Meet the Nigerian President, who is doing a very good job.” And the latter concurred.
In Britain, when David Cameron was Prime Minister, he had made a faux pas when he named Nigeria and some other countries as being “fantastically corrupt.” And who rose in defence of the Nigerian leader? The Archbishop of Canterbury, His Grace Justin Welby, who said; “but this particular President is not corrupt.” And you ask me to throw away such President when he still wants another term? I’ll vote for him again and again, no matter what naysayers claim.
What of the personal virtues? I sit with him, speak with him, and I know. Discipline. Simplicity. Love of country. Lack of greed. A heart for the poor and downtrodden. A realization of the ephemeralness of power, and of life itself. These are things that resonate in his speeches. They don’t make them like this anymore. And then, I should prematurely jettison the one I have? Even the Heavens will hold a people who take such decision in derision.
Some people ask; where are the achievements? Well, if they are of such mindset, unfortunately they can’t be helped. We don’t have the authority to mix spittle with clay, put on their eyes, and direct them to go to Siloam pool, wash, and come back seeing. Once anybody decides to be willfully blind, no matter what you push in front of his eyes, he wouldn’t see. If he decides to be willfully deaf, even if there are thunder peals by his ears, he won’t hear. Those of us that manage the media of the President put all the activities and achievements in the public domain. They claim not to know. Good luck to them. Those who know, really know. And they are the millions who will stand by the President any day. Strides in security, agriculture, anti-corruption, infrastructure, and many others are evident. When they drive on Enugu-Onitsha Expressway, Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway, Aba Port Harcourt Expressway, and hear that early works on the Second Niger Bridge have reached about 45% completion, and still refuse to believe, what then can anybody still do? But thankfully, those who believe far outnumber the inveterate cynics.
They talk of the economy, and make it appear as if the heavens were falling upon them. But the economy, according to pundits, began to slow down in 2012. By 2014, it was poised for recession. Before the last administration left, Nigeria was already borrowing to pay salaries, as confirmed by Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. And that was in spite of trillions earned from oil. By 2016, recession was inevitable. But for how long did it last? Just one year. Due to deft footworks,sound economic policies, transparency and accountability, we were soon out. Today, inflation rate has fallen for the 13th month running. The auguries are good for the economy, but all they want to wail about is hunger, to deceive and beguile. But Nigerians know. They know where food self-sufficiency is coming from. They know where their future and those of their children will be guaranteed. The polls would prove it next year.
When we were awash with money, what happened to infrastructure? Simply nothing. Power, roads, rail, bridges. Nothing! Now, when we are earning about 60% less than what we used to earn, those things are coming. Power was inherited at about 3,000 megawatts, with a large chunk of it not distributable. Today, power generation stands at over 7,000 megawatts, and over 5,000 MW is distributed. Rail projects will cover the national landscape within the next one year. Abandoned projects are being resuscitated nationwide. Recently, the N8.5 billion water project in Otuoke, Bayelsa State, came on stream. It was not achieved when a native of the area was President. The Lagos-Otta-Abeokuta road has been awarded. It was not done when a son of the area was in power. The dredging of Warri port for N13 billion has been awarded. Was it awarded when a native of the region was in office for six years? Nigeria is making tremendous progress, and things can only get better.
For the first time in the history of the country, stealing has become corruption. It didn’t use to be so, particularly in the last epoch. No wonder the Excess Crude Account was looted dry. Foreign reserves drawn down. Federation Account, emptied. And the economy was set on an irreversible path to recession. And they say; don’t talk about it. Focus on the present and the future only. How we miss Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. He would have said: “I go shout o, I go shout plenty o.” If we don’t focus on the past, we are then liable to make the same mistakes. “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” (George Santayana).
Stolen monies are being recovered in billions of naira and dollars, and being appropriated and spent on infrastructure. Properties acquired with laundered funds are being seized. President Buhari has promised to sell them, and return the funds into public treasury. No wonder some people are running scared, and had tried earnestly to dissuade the man from going for a second term in office. But the die is cast. Let each mother warn her child. Days of reckoning will come.
A party left the country in ruins after 16 years. It is now crying that the edifice has not been rebuilt in three years. Is it not easier to destroy than to rebuild? The rebuilding of Nigeria is proceeding apace. Another term for President Buhari will take the job very far. Consolidation of the good works is good prospect, not only for us, but also our children.
Things may be tough for Nigerians now, but they are like birth pangs, which begin to fade at a point. And they are fading. A woman brings forth only with pains, tears and groaning. But when she beholds her baby, all those pale into insignificance. A new dawn, new visitation is coming our way. We can see the Promised Land. Nothing should stop us from stepping into it.
Archbishop Justin Welby, Head of the Anglican Communion Worldwide, told President Buhari in London this week: “Great statesmen are those who run for the good of their country.” Spot-on. The 2019 race is not for self, but for the good of the country. Discerning Nigerians did it in 2015. In greater numbers, they are poised to do it again in 2019.

Buhari Lacks Leadership Qualities To Govern Nigeria – Na’Abba

2019 Elections, PMB, Politics, Power

naaba

President Muhammadu Buhari does not have leadership qualities to govern the country, according to former Speaker of the House of Representatives Umar Na’Abba.

Buhari had last Monday declared his intention to seek re-election in 2019 but Na’Abba said the president does not have what it takes to lead the nation.

According to the former lawmaker, Buhari was wrongly advised to seek re-election since he cannot deliver.

He told a national daily that, “I really do not know what encouraged him to say he would re-contest for the 2019 general elections.

“I do not see any quality of leadership in him that qualifies him to continue to govern this country.

“So, my advice is that he should have a rethink even though we are not surprised with his declaration but we feel that he cannot deliver.”

He also said neither the APC nor the PDP has the will to rescue the nation.

Senator Ekweremadu: Blame ancestors for Nigeria’s problems

Politics, Power

ekweDeputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, said, Friday, that Nigeria’s leaders over the years should be blamed and held responsible for the nation’s many problems associated with the nation’s diversity.

Ekweremadu also faulted the notion that the Nigeria’s diversity was the cause of her internal divisiveness and wrangling, just as he blamed Military incursion into the country’s politics for the seeds of discord and distortion of Nigeria’s federal structure, which he said has now left Nigeria a Federal Republic in name, but a Unitary Republic in practice.

Speaking Firday in Abuja while speaking at the first Isawa Elaigwu Foundation Annual Distinguished Lecture themed “Federalism, Diversity, and Nation-Building: Tackling the Challenges of integration in Nigeria, the deputy Senate President who noted that it was sad that decades after Nigeria’s independence and the civil war, “the crisis of identity, ethno-religious squabbles, debilitating nepotism, pampering and promotion of mediocrity, sectional segregation, and other factors that were responsible for the war have persisted”.

Ekweremadu further said that “The results of all the military adventures are structural imbalance, resource capture through the destruction of the principle of fiscal federalism, centralisation of the police system, and inequity in the distribution of opportunities.”

The deputy Senate President urged Nigeria to learn from the United States of America, which, according to her former Vice President, Joe Biden, took a vast continent and diverse people and mouled them into a united representative of democracy, where people see themselves as Americans first.

He said, “Moving forward, we have to accept the reality of our diversity. Since we cannot run away from that we are diverse, we must take urgent steps to salvage the nation and manage our diversity better for effective nation-building as many other nations have done.

“During his second term bid in 1864 in the last days of the American civil war, Abraham Lincoln dropped his Vice President, Hannibal Hamlin, a fellow Republican. He settled for Andrew Johnson, who was not only from Tennessee, one of the Confederate States that opposed the Union, but also a Democrat as his running mate. Magnanimous in a virtually achieved victory, Lincoln wanted to rebuild trust and unity, ensuring that every American was given a sense of belonging, irrespective of the side he or she belonged to in the bloody war.

“The current and first female President of Singapore, Halimah Yacob, is of Malay origin, a minority race in the country. Chinese constitute over 75% of Singaporean population, while Indians and Malays account for much of the rest.

“Therefore, our diversity is not our problem in the real sense. We are instead the problem of our diversity. We can leave together despite our challenges. We can forge a tightly knit union where no man feels oppressed. It only requires the political will to build a just and an equitable society to give every constituent part a sense of belonging.”

The Senator who insisted that not much could be achieved without an overhaul of the nation’s federalism, said, “An overhaul of our federalism is at the heart of rebuilding Nigeria for equity, justice, and prosperity. If we restructure, the federating units will become the centres of development again, with little emphasis and pressure on the federal government.

“If we restructure the security system, the constituent parts will take charge of their internal security alongside the federal police.

“If we reintroduce fiscal federalism, no people will feel robbed or cheated of their resources; every constituent part will earn its living. The best will be allowed to excel since only the best can increase productivity. As is the case in Canada, less endowed states will benefit from Equity Fund to ensure even development.”

North East: 1,000 Children Abducted by Boko Haram Since 2013 – UNICEF

Africa, Politics, Terrorism, UNICEF
unicef

1,000 Children Abducted by Boko Haram Since 2013 – UNICEF

The United Nation Children Fund (UNICEF) has revealed how more than 1,000 children have been abducted by Boko Haram in the North East, Nigeria since 2013, including 276 girls taken from their secondary school in the town of Chibok, on April 14, 2014.

The UNICEF, said four years on, more than 100 of the ‘Chibok girls’ are yet to be returned to their families, and the UN children’s agency continues to call for their release. 

“The four-year anniversary of the Chibok abduction reminds us that children in northeastern Nigeria continue to come under attack at a shocking scale,” said UNICEF representative in Nigeria, Mohamed Malick Fall in a statement, yesterday. “They are consistently targeted and exposed to brutal violence in their homes, schools and public places.” 

flo5According to UNICEF, the recent attack on a school in Dapchi, in which five girls lost their lives, is just the latest indication that there are few safe spaces left for children in the Northeast, stressing that not even schools are spared from violence. 

“These repeated attacks against children in schools are unconscionable. Children have the right to education and protection, and the classroom must be a place where they are safe from harm,”  he said.

The UN agency said since the conflict started in Northeastern Nigeria nearly nine years ago, at least, 2,295 teachers have been killed and more than 1,400 schools have been destroyed, adding that most of these schools have not reopened because of extensive damage or ongoing insecurity.

UNICEF said Nigerian authorities have made a commitment to make schools safer and more resilient to attack, and UNICEF stands with them to implement the Safe Schools Declaration, by which Nigeria commits to protecting schools and universities from violence and military use during armed conflict. 

UNICEF is appealing for an end to attacks on schools and all grave violations of children’s rights.

Amnesty: Almost 1,000 prisoners executed worldwide in 2017

Politics, Power

Amnesty: Almost 1,000 prisoners executed worldwide in 2017 by Saba Aziz

Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq record highest executions, as rights group reports global decline in the use of death penalty.

FAST FACTS

  • At least 993 prisoners executed worldwide
  • Iran executed at least 507
  • 2,591 death sentences in the world – a 17 percent decline
  • Two more countries abolished death penalty
  • Pakistan fourth most prolific recorded executioner

Amnesty International has expressed concern that the death penalty continues to be applied in some Middle Eastern countries, as it reported a worldwide decline in executions and death sentences in 2017.

amnesty1In its annual report published on Thursday, the international rights group documented at least 993 executions in 23 countries last year – a four percent decline from 2016, when 1,032 executions wererecorded.

From a record high of 3,117 in 2016, since Amnesty began documentation, 2,591 death sentences were imposed worldwide – a 17 percent decline.

But for the second year in a row, the Middle Eastern countries of Iran, Saudi Arabia and Iraq were the top three for the number of executions in the world – along with Pakistan, they account for 84 percent of executions recorded worldwide.

China is widely believed to execute thousands of people every year, but data on executions “is classified as a state secret”, according to Amnesty.

“In many countries in the [Middle East and North Africa] region, the death penalty is used after proceedings that did not meet international fair trial standards,” said Oluwatosin Popoola, Amnesty International adviser on the death penalty.

“This includes the extraction of confessions through torture and other ill-treatment,” he told Al Jazeera in a phone interview.

READ MORE

Welcome to ‘the world’s largest death row’

At 264, the Middle East and North Africa region also recorded the highest number of drug-related executions last year, the report said.

In Saudi Arabia, beheadings of drug offenders accounted for 40 percent of total executions – an increase from 16 percent in 2016.

Since 1977, Amnesty has been advocating the abolition of the death penalty, which Popoola said is “the ultimate denial of human rights” and “serves the society no good”.

“Despite strides towards abolishing this abhorrent punishment, there are still a few leaders who would resort to the death penalty as a ‘quick-fix’ rather than tackling problems at their roots with humane, effective and evidence-based policies,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s secretary-general, in a statement.

“Strong leaders execute justice, not people,” he added.

Pakistan’s death row

For the third successive year, Pakistan was among the top five executioners in the world, putting more than 60 prisoners to death

The country lifted a six-year moratorium on executions in 2014 as part of a “counterterrorism” plan in the aftermath of the massacre at Peshawar’s Army Public School, which left at least 144 dead.

The government then expanded the use of executions to include non-terrorism offences in 2015, saying the measure was needed to combat crime.

With more than 6,000 awaiting execution, Pakistan has one of the world’s largest death row populations.

According to Pakistan’s Ministry of Interior, the President’s Office rejected 513 mercy petitions of condemned prisoners over the last five years, 444 of which were in the first fifteen months after the resumption of executions in December 2014.

Despite a 31 percent decline in executions and 44 percent in those sentenced, rights groups and legal experts still question its practise in the country.

“Technically, in a society where the criminal justice system has flaws – and Pakistan’s criminal justice system certainly has flaws – where rehabilitation isn’t, unfortunately, the top priority, ideally, we should move away from punishing people and towards rehabilitating them,” said Saad Rasool, a constitutional lawyer, based in the eastern city of Lahore.

“Strong leaders execute justice, not people”

SALIL SHETTY, AMNESTY SECRETARY-GENERAL

People with mental or intellectual disabilities were also executed or remained on death row in several countries, including Pakistan.

Khizar Hayat, who has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, was sentenced to death for the murder of his friend and fellow police officer in 2003.

After 14 years of legal wrangling and appeals, his execution was stayed by the Lahore High Court last year, sparking outrage. As he awaits execution, a mercy petition remains pending before President Mamnoon Hussain.

Sarah Belal, executive director of rights group Justice Project Pakistan, which has handled Hayat’s case, stressed the need to exercise presidential pardon to “make up for the failings of a criminal justice system.”

“There is absolutely no policy in place to restrict the number of people either being sentenced to death or the number of people being executed in Pakistan,” she told Al Jazeera.

“In a country like Pakistan, where our criminal justice system is mired in corruption and beholden to power and makes grave, grave mistakes, to not exercise this presidential power is actually the greatest injustice that I can think of,” Belal said in a phone interview.

‘Beacon of hope’

In 2017, Guinea, along with Mongolia, abolished the death penalty for all crimes, bringing the total of abolitionist states to 106 by the end of the year.

Amnesty hailed the substantial decrease in death sentences in sub-Saharan Africa as “a beacon of hope for abolition”.

In total, 20 countries in the region have abolished the penalty for all crimes.

Last year, only two countries – Somalia and South Sudan – recorded executions, compared with five in the region in 2016.

“The few countries that continue to use the death penalty are increasingly becoming a minority few and we are very hopeful that, not before too long, more and more countries would abolish the death penalty and this horrible punishment will be a thing of the past,” said Popoola.

Follow Saba Aziz on Twitter: @saba_aziz

Surviving Death Row

WITNESS

Surviving Death Row

 

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA NEWS

Kaduna Civilian JTF Commander Tortured to Frame Senator Shehu Sani

2019 Elections, Africa, APC, Military, Nigerian Army, personality, Politics, Power

Shehu-sani-picGarba Isa, a member of a Kaduna Civilian JTF who is in the centre of the Murder case controversy against Senator Shehu Sani of one Lawan Maiduna has alleged that the Military forced him to implicate the Senator.

Isa told newsmen in Kano, Thursday that, ” I was not in Kaduna but received calls that the Military are looking for me on an issue so when I went back I was at our office in Kabala Doki when the military came and asked me to come with them”.

He said, “the Military told me that they arrested some suspects and I alongside another person we should come in our position as JTF to verified their identity at Badarawa so after an inquiry they allowed the other person to go and asked me to follow them”.

” They now took me to Kukwa Ahmed Aruwa Firm, and kept me there I was there when a Military Captain came and left there after he sent an intelligent officer who now came and told me that I was the one who killed Lawan Bakin Ruwa”.

“I told them as a civilian JTF how can I killed anybody, they now started torturing me that II most accept that I’m the one who killed him and Senator Shehu Sani was the one who contracts us to do it”.

Garba added, ” the Military at the firm insisted that II most accept that Senator Shehu Sani gave Bashir Hamadada money to pay us for the killing of Lawan and I told them I neither knew Bashir no Lawan they are talking about”.

Garba Isa added that he spent two weeks with the military but still refused to implicate Senator Shehu Sani “and later we were transferred to the Kaduna State State CID were I spent almost a month and from where I was taken to Prison”.

He said it was at a Kaduna State High Court that he got his bail but his right-hand side is now having serious injuries making him to go on treatment because of the alleged military torture.

All efforts to hear from the Military Command in Kaduna proved abortive.

NewTelegraph

Jammu policemen face charges over Asifa’s rape, killing

international News

Court filing by police lays bare circumstances of eight-year-old Muslim girl’s death in mainly Hindu district of Kathua. A retired government official and four policemen have been charged over the gang rape and murder of an eight-year-old Muslim girl in Indian-administered Kashmir.

India – 
India

Activists took to New Delhi’s streets to protest Asifa’s rape and murder [Cathal McNaughton/Reuters]

A retired government official and four policemen have been charged over the gang rape and murder of an eight-year-old Muslim girl in Indian-administered Kashmir.

The retired official, Sanji Ram, ordered his nephew and a policeman to kidnap the girl, Asifa, in January to terrorise members of her nomadic Bakerwal community into leaving Kathua district in the mainly Hindu Jammu division, according to a court filing.

The girl was heavily sedated, kept in a Hindu temple, and gang-raped by at least three men over the course of four days in mid-January, the police said in the charge sheet made public on Tuesday.

She was later strangled and her body was found in the forest near the temple.

One of the three suspected rapists was a policeman.

Another officer, Anand Dutta, who was initially in charge of the investigation, took more than $6,000 in bribes to cover up the crime, according to the police.

Dutta even washed the clothes Asifa was wearing at the time of her death to remove any blood or semen stains, they said.

He is among a total of eight suspects who have been detained over Asifa’s rape and murder. All eight are Hindu.

Residents of Kathua’s mainly Hindu community, however, claim the men are innocent and have protested against their arrest for months.

Several BJP officials have also rushed to the suspects’ defence, organising marches against their detention, while lawyers of Jammu’s Bar Association  blocked  the entrance to a local court to prevent the police from filing charges against the suspects.

Land disputes

There have always been divisions between the Muslim and Hindu communities in Jammu and Kashmir, Talib Hussain, a member of the Bakerwal community,  told Al Jazeera, but the “situation has worsened” since the BJP, led by Narendra Modi, the Indian prime minister, won the national elections in 2014.

Asifa’s murder was a “well-planned crime to create fear among the Muslims in Kathua and drive them away from their homes in the Hindu majority area”, he said, noting an increase in conflict between local Hindus and the Bakerwals over land disputes in recent years.

The police, in the court filing, also said rivalry between the two groups had grown, with members filing various complaints against each other.

Ram, who planned Asifa’s abduction, was “against the settlement” of Bakerwals in Kathua, the police said.

The nomadic community, who herd goats and sheeps, usually spend the winter months in the plains of Jammu and migrate to highland pastures to graze their animals in the summer.

But in recent years, some of them have started to settle in permanent homes.

And Ram “always kept on motivating members of his community of the area not to provide land for grazing or any other kind of assistance”, the charge sheet said.

Prior to the attack, he imposed fines at least two members of the Bakerwal community for using a pond and a forest near his land for watering and grazing their cattle, the police said.

Ram had even campaigned against one of his neighbours for selling land to a Bakerwal, the police said, adding that ultimately, Asifa, being a child, “became a soft target” of the growing rivalry.

‘Rein in the mob’

Himanshu Sharma, a Jammu lawyer who has rallied in defence of the accused, called the state police’s investigation “flawed” because Muslim policemen were involved in the probe.

He said the federal Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) must look in to the case instead, a demand BJP officials in the state have also backed.

The lawyers also organised a general strike, which began in Kathua on Wednesday, prompting a police investigation over disruption against them.

Hindu nationalists have protested against the arrest of the suspects in Kathua [File: Reuters]

“There is only one reason men accused of such a heinous crime have widespread public support: like the majority of people in Kathua, the suspects are Hindu; the girl was a Muslim,” wrote Samar Halarnkar in the Scroll on Thursday.

He said Asifa’s rape and murder marked a “defining moment” for India.

The ruling BJP must “rein in the mob”, he said, adding that it “must stand for what is just and lawful, qualities they have frequently abandoned when minorities are involved”.

Sunil Sethi, a BJP official in Jammu and Kashmir, denied the charge, saying they too “demand justice for the victim”.

Silence at the centre

While the BJP’s defence of the accused has been “loud” at the state level, at the centre, its silence has been deafening, wrote Monobina Gupta, managing editor of The Wire news website, referring to Modi’s lack of comment on the case.

The noise at the state level accompanied by the silence at the centre feed into each other, she said, “promoting [a] culture of impunity for law-breakers who target Muslims and other marginalised sections”.

Responding to the anger over Asifa’s murder, Mehbooba Mufti, the chief minister for Jammu and Kashmir, whose PDP party rules the state in an alliance with the BJP, pledged on Thursday to introduce the death penalty for child rapists.

READ MORE

‘Anti-Muslim bigotry has been normalised under Modi’

“We will never let another child suffer in this way,” she wrote on Twitter.

Many others also took to Twitter to question why opposition leader Rahul Gandhi’s had failed to comment, after which the president of the Indian National Congress party called for a “silent, peaceful, candlelit vigil” in New Delhi.

Thousands joined the vigil at India Gate monument on Thursday night to demand justice for women.

Dozens of women’s rights activists and students, already angered by what they called police reluctance to investigate a BJP politician over the rape of a 15-year-old in Uttar Pradesh, also took to the streets of New Delhi on Thursday in protest against the two cases.

But other Twitter users lamented what they called a muted response.

They noted how another attack in 2012, the fatal gang rape of a young woman dubbed Nirbhaya, had moved hundreds of thousands of Indians to take to the streets in protest.

Asifa is “another Nirbhaya,” wrote Shaili Chopra, a rights activist. “We need collective disobedience against rape in India – if these cases don’t shake the conscience of this nation, what will?”

Shaili Chopra@shailichopra

another Nirbhaya: We need collective disobedience against rape in India – If these cases don’t shake the conscience of this nation what will? Is beti bachao just a slogan? When will we become intolerant to crimes against women? India has failed me.
https://www.shethepeople.tv/news/asifa-another-nirbhaya-rapes-india-law-order/ 

Rakesh Sharma

@rakeshfilm

Is Asifa not India’s daughter?

A child brutally raped inside a temple.
Killed.
To terrorise nomadic Muslims into leaving.
Crime driven by religious hatred.

Yet, MLAs, local lawyers & Hindutva brigade try to prevent even filing of complaint & publicly support rapists!

Chilling. https://twitter.com/shekhargupta/status/982512436719714304 

Ashok Swain

@ashoswai

Asifa, an 8 year old Muslim girl who was tortured, raped and killed inside a temple by Hindu men – Hindutva groups protect theses barbaric criminals because they are Hindus. There is no national outrage. India has become a land of bigots and hypocrites. https://twitter.com/sagarikaghose/status/983736052950228992 

Rifat Fareed contributed reporting from Srinagar 

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA NEWS

BBNaija 2018: Dino Melaye hosts Bambam and Teddy A

BBNaija, Big Brother Naija, Celebrity Gists

Dinoio

Dino Melaye, the lawmaker representing Kogi West senatorial district, on Thursday evening hosted Big Brother Naija ex-housemates, Teddy A and BamBam.

The ex-housemates, who were romantic partners while in the Big Brother house, were hosted in Melaye’s Abuja home.

An excited Dino and fan of the reality show shared a photo of himself with the BBNaija ex-housemates on his social media pages.

He wrote “Teddy A and Bambam of Big Brother at my crib. Great guys.”

Dinooo

Somalia disbands UAE programme to pay and train soldiers

Africa, Boko Haram, Military, War

Somalia said it seized several bags of money containing $9.6m in cash from a plane arriving from the UAE.

Somalia has disbanded a United Arab Emirates programme to train some of its troops in a new sign of rising tensions in bilateral relations.

The Somali government announced on Wednesday that it will take over paying and training the soldiers in the programme, Defence Minister Mohamed Mursal Abdirahman told Somalia’s state news agency Sonna.

“Somalia will fully take over [its troops] trained by the UAE… Those forces will be added to the various battalions of the Somalia National Army,” Abdirahman said, adding the soldiers would be integrated into other units on Thursday.

The UAE has trained hundreds of troops since 2014 as part of an effort boosted by an African Union military mission to defeat an al-Shabab uprising and secure the country for the government, which is backed by Western nations, Turkey and the United Nations.

There was no immediate comment from the UAE government.

Rising tensions

The move came after the government of Somalia said on Sunday it had seized several bags of money containing $9.6m in cash from a plane arriving from the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi.

On Tuesday, the UAE denounced the seizure of the money, which it said was destined to pay the soldiers.

“Money allocated to support the Somali army and trainees was seized at gunpoint by Somali security personnel, who disrespected some members of the UAE forces,” it said.

The money was found in three unmarked bags on a Royal Jet plane, according to the Somali interior ministry, and its seizure resulted in an hours-long standoff between airport officials and UAE embassy staff in Mogadishu.

Royal Jet is an airline based in Abu Dhabi, servicing the luxury market between the UAE and Europe.

“The seized money is worth $9.6m. Security agencies are currently investigating where the money came from, where it was going, the individuals involved and the reason for bringing money worth this amount into the country,” Somalia’s interior ministry said in a statement late on Sunday.

Relations between Somalia and the UAE have been frosty since June last year.

Mogadishu resisted Emirati and Saudi pressure to cut ties with Qatar following a dispute between the Gulf neighbours. Somalia said it was neutral in the Gulf diplomatic rift.

Last month, Abu Dhabi agreed to train security forces in Somaliland – a region in northern Somalia seeking to secede from the country. The UAE has also signed with Somaliland a 30-year concession to manage Berbera Port in the semi-autonomous region. It has also started building a military base in the port city.

Somalia dismissed the agreement between Abu Dhabi and the northern Somali region as “non-existent, null and void” and called on the UN to take action.

Speaking at the UN Security Council last month, Abukar Osman, Somalia’s ambassador to the UN, said the agreement between Somaliland and the UAE to establish the base in Berbera is a “clear violation of international law”.

Osman called on the Security Council to “take the necessary steps” to “put an end to these actions”.

“The federal government of Somalia strongly condemns these blatant violations, and reaffirms that it will take the necessary measures deriving from its primary responsibility to defend the inviolability of the sovereignty and the unity of Somalia,” he said.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

%d bloggers like this: