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Showing posts with label Politics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Politics. Show all posts

Nigeria Communication Minister Pantami Plotted Against the Killing of Former Governor of Kaduna State Patrick Yakowa- Document Reveals

He was killed in a helicopter crash in 2012, alongside former national security adviser Owoeye Patrick Azazi.

A document has been uncovered which showed how President Muhammadu Buhari’s communication minister Isa Pantami and other Muslim leaders plotted to assassinate former Kaduna State Governor Patrick Yakowa. It was unclear whether the conclusion of the Muslim leaders was responsible for the helicopter crash that killed Mr Yakowa, and the minister did not immediately return a request seeking comments from Peoples Gazette on Wednesday night.




Mr Yakowa was the first Christian governor of Kaduna, which is divided between Muslim and Christians, although with a mostly Muslim population. 


Mr Pantami chaired the July 13, 2010, meeting of Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), a foremost Isla mic body led by Sultan of Sokoto Sa’ad Abubakar, where it was agreed that Mr Yakowa and his family must be eliminated because he was a Christian leader leading a state in the Muslim-dominated North.


“We must either use the security or other means to eliminate the governor, his family and all those they perceive as supporting him,” Mr Pantami and other leaders said in their communique adopted at the meeting held at Bauchi Central Mosque. 


The meeting complained that Mr Yakowa was making moves to contest for governor in 2011 and he had the support of former President Goodluck Jonathan, a fellow Christian. 

Mr Yakowa became governor in 2010 when Mr Jonathan tapped Namadi Sambo, then Kaduna governor, as his vice-president. 


Mr Yakowa contested in 2011 and won a substantive four-year term. He was killed in a helicopter crash barely a year later in 2012, alongside former national security adviser Owoye Andrew Azazi. The event had long been suspected to be more than just an accident, and investigation into what happened was never concluded or made public.


The minister did not immediately return a request seeking comments about the 2010 meeting.


Document about the meeting surfaced as Mr Pantami came under pressure to step down from office after The Gazette uncovered details of his past inflammatory statements. The minister said he was always happy about the massacre of unbelievers. 


He also said Osama Bin Laden was a better Muslim than himself and wished Al Qaeda and the Taliban success in their terrorism. 

United Kingdom To Grant Asylum To ‘persecuted’ IPOB, MASSOB Members which has been Designated as a Terrorist Organisation by the Nigerian Government

Asylum is to be granted to “persecuted” members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), which has been designated as a terrorist organisation by the Nigerian government, and the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB).



IPOB was formed in 2012 by Nnamdi Kanu and is believed to be an offshoot of MASSOB, which was founded in 1999 by Ralph Uwazuruike.


Both are campaigning for the secession of mainly the south-east but also several other ethnic nationalities from Nigeria.


In the just-released ‘Country Policy and Information Note Nigeria: Biafran secessionist groups’ seen by TheCable, the UKVI, a division of the Home Office, directed its decision makers to consider if a person “who actively and openly supports IPOB is likely to be at risk of arrest and detention, and ill-treatment which is likely to amount to persecution”.


According to the guidelines, the decision makers “must also consider if the [Nigerian] government’s actions are acts of prosecution, not persecution. Those fleeing prosecution or punishment for a criminal offence are not normally refugees. Prosecution may, however, amount to persecution if it involves victimisation in its application by the authorities”.


An example of persecution, the UKVI said, is “if it is the vehicle or excuse for or if only certain groups are prosecuted for a particular offence and the consequences of that discrimination are sufficiently severe. Punishment which is cruel, inhuman or degrading (including punishment which is out of all proportion to the offence committed) may also amount to persecution”.


They are also to “consider each case on its facts to determine if the person is likely to be of interest to the [Nigerian] government and whether this is for the legitimate grounds of prosecution which is proportionate and non-discriminatory”.


BURDEN OF PROOF


The onus is on the applicants to demonstrate that they will be “at risk of persecution or serious harm” in Nigeria, according to the guidelines.


In particular, the decision makers are to consider each case on its facts, taking into account:


profile, size, and organisation of the group/organisation to which the person belongs and its activities

whether a person in the UK would wish to continue their activism if returned to Nigeria (if not, why not)

whether the group/organisation has a presence in Nigeria as well as outside of the country and any evidence that it is being monitored by the government

person’s profile and political activities (including those online) and relevant documentary or other evidence

profile and activities of family members

past treatment.


The UK acknowledges that the Nigerian government has a responsibility to maintain law and order, “to prevent and protect the public against acts of violence”.


It said where supporters or members of MASSOB or IPOB “have incited or used violence to disrupt public order, the government may have legitimate grounds to arrest and prosecute those people”.


“However, where the government has arrested and detained persons who, for example, peacefully participate in demonstrations and has then charged them with treason or the person is subjected to periods of detention in degrading or inhuman conditions, such treatment is unlikely to be fair or proportionate, and is likely to amount to persecution,” the guidelines noted.


The UK defines ‘Biafra’ as an area “in the south-east of Nigeria that comprises the states of Abia, Imo, Ebonyi, Enugu and Anambra. The area is inhabited principally by Igbo (Ibo) people who are one of the country’s 3 largest ethnic groups”.



EVIDENCE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS APPLICATIONS


The UK, which is a signatory to several human rights and refugee conventions, believes Biafran secessionist agitations are covered by one or more of the following policies:


A person is reasonably likely to face a real risk of persecution or serious harm

The general humanitarian situation is so severe as to breach Article 15(b) of European Council Directive 2004/83/EC (the Qualification Directive)/Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights as transposed in paragraph 339C and 339CA(iii) of the Immigration Rules

The security situation presents a real risk to a civilian’s life or person such that it would breach Article 15(c) of the Qualification Directive as transposed in paragraph 339C and 339CA(iv) of the Immigration Rules

A person is able to obtain protection from the state (or quasi state bodies)

A person is reasonably able to relocate within a country or territory

A claim is likely to justify granting asylum, humanitarian protection or other form of leave, and

If a claim is refused, it is likely or unlikely to be certifiable as ‘clearly unfounded’ under section 94 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002.

However, decision makers are directly to still consider all claims on an individual basis, taking into account each case’s specific facts.

Source: The Cable News

The United States remains committed to providing Taiwan with defence Against China Invasion -U.S. Department of Defence

 The United States remains committed to providing Taiwan with defensive material and helping it strengthen its self-defense capabilities, U.S. Department of Defence spokesman John Kirby said Monday.

                              

"We remain committed, as we have for multiple administrations, to aiding Taiwan in its self-defence, to providing materiel for them to defend themselves," Kirby said at a news briefing when asked how Japan and the U.S. should cooperate to maintain peace in the Taiwan Strait.


When asked by Japanese Nippon Television about the necessity to formulate a joint operation plan or hold joint exercises to prepare for a potential confrontation in the Strait, Kirby said he would not speculate on this issue.


He simply reiterated the U.S.' support for the one-China policy and said "nobody wants to see things come to blows over Taiwan."


Talk of U.S.-Japan cooperation on Taiwan emerged after U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga met in Washington on April 16.


The importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait was highlighted in a joint statement issued after their meeting. That was believed to be the first mention of the importance of cross-strait security in a joint U.S.-Japan statement since 1969.


Meanwhile, Kirby noted that U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, who participated in the April 16 meeting with Suga, made his first overseas trip to Asia and his first stop was Tokyo.


The trip gave him a chance to learn more about the region from the Japanese perspective and reaffirm the U.S.' commitment to its obligations and its assistance in the defense of Japan under the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty, Kirby said.


The U.S. will also continue to work bilaterally with Japan's Self-Defense Forces to improve their collective capabilities given the scope of the threats across the region, including the threats emanating from North Korea, Kirby said.

 



Nigeria Vice President Osinbajo seeks review of US foreign policy

 Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has called on the United States (U.S.) to reset its foreign policy on Africa.



According to him, a robust intervention in the continent by the U.S will be beneficial to both parties.


Osinbajo made the call in a speech delivered virtually at the 2021 Johns Hopkins University’s African Studies Programme Conference on the theme: “Africa-US re-engagement: A new foreign policy agenda”.


He urged the U.S. to back the call for a just global transition to zero emissions, lead the effort to ensure easy access to COVID-19 vaccine.


The vice president said: “The U.S.) should promote a partnership that brings about economic prosperity, increases security, combats disease, improves governance and mitigates climate change.


“Africa is in many ways the last frontier for economic development and it has the potential to be a global growth pole. Indeed, as other parts of the world are looking inwards, Africa is moving confidently to integrate its economies through the African Union Agenda 2063 as well as the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).”


Speaking  on AfCFTA implementation, Osinbajo said: “The United States is well placed to lead trade and investment ties with Africa. And it has a good leg-in with the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA). The legislation, which removed all tariffs on 6,400 products available for export to the US, saw some African countries benefiting considerably.”


”As the African Continental Free Trade Agreements are set to kick-in, AGOA must now be implemented consistent with the AFCTA. AGOA expires in 2025. But a new and improved AGOA that takes these challenges into account can be negotiated before then.”


On improving the support of the US in combating terrorism in the Sahel region, the vice president said a more robust intervention towards clearing the reign of terror in the region is desirable.


He said: “While it is evident that the threat of violent extremist organizations is growing, it will appear that US policy (United States Africa Command) has since 2020 shifted from a strategy of degrading violent extremist organisations in West Africa to simply containing their spread.


“The escalation of the attacks, the synergies being created amongst these extremist groups call for a review of position. It may be the moment for a more robust intervention along the lines of US-backed operations in clearing terrorists and insurgents in the Middle East.”


The vice president also advocated that the US-Africa relations need not be unidimensional, noting that “since the U.S. is also a global leader in economic and military terms as well as through its contributions to the norms that shape the global order, it should work with Africa either under the auspices of the African Union or indeed through individual countries like Nigeria to build a better world.


“Africa should not be seen or used as a pawn in great power games nor as an arena in the contest to secure strategic minerals and natural resources but rather as a partner in building a more secure, peaceful and prosperous world,” Osinbajo added.


In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Laolu Akande, the vice president also tasked the US to reset its foreign policy with the African continent in ways that bring about economic prosperity, increased security, and improved governance.


The statement reads: “The U.S. and Africa should work together to tackle climate change and moderate global warming including through an energy transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies. African countries have made commitments in this regard towards implementing the Paris Climate Change Agreement targets.


Given the long term commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050, there is a growing trend among development finance institutions to withdraw from fossil fuel investment, including the World Bank’s decision to cease funding for upstream oil and gas development and the new restrictions on financing downstream gas development currently being considered by the European Union, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the U.S.


“While well-intentioned, this move does not take into account the principles of common but differentiated responsibility and leaving no one behind, that are enshrined into global treaties around sustainable development and climate action,” Osinbajo noted.

Nigeria Opposition Party PDP Asks DSS To Probe Pantami, Seeks Minister’s Sack

 The Peoples Democratic Party on Sunday called on the Department of State Service to immediately invite the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, for questioning over his alleged affiliations with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

The Party, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in Abuja, also demanded that the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari(retd.), should immediately sack the minister, given the sensitivity of the issue at stake.

The party said its position was predicated on the heightening concerns in the public space and in the international arena of possible compromises by the communication minister.

It noted that Pantami had access to sensitive government documents and information, in addition to data of all individuals including high profile personalities in the public and private sectors as well as the traditional and faith-based circles.


The statement partly read, “The PDP is particularly worried about allegations in the public suggesting that the minister compromised the NIN registration exercise by giving room for the registration of aliens and invaders from other countries as our citizens.


“The party tasks the DSS to investigate the allegation which has created apprehension, particularly given the rise in banditry and other terrorist activities in our country.

“The PDP urges Nigerians to remain at alert and very sensitive to their environment, while not hesitating in providing useful information to our security agencies in the interest of our nation"


Currency Printing: APC Governors Knock Obaseki, Say Edo Gov’s assertion unfortunate, did not reflect the true position of things while PDP Governors Fire Back

 •Say Edo Gov’s assertion unfortunate, did not reflect the true position of things


The Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF) yesterday debunked claims by Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State that the federal government printed between N50 billion – N60 billion to bridge the shortfall in the distribution of federation revenues to the three tiers of government in March 2021, saying that the claims did not reflect the true position of things.


The Forum, in a statement signed by its Chairman, Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, said at first, the impression it got was that it was an off the cuff remark made in a private meeting, but “we were however shocked to see yet another response from our colleague to the rebuttal by the HM Finance insisting that the March 2021 FAAC was augmented via the printing of money.



The PGF states: “Given the significance of the statement from a sitting governor and the possible negative impact it has brought to the credibility of both the federal and State government in managing government finances, the Forum is obliged to put a statement out.


“To set the records clear and to the best of our knowledge, the total distributable statutory revenue for the month of March 2021 was N596.94 billion. Due to the shortfall in gross statutory revenues by N43.34 billion compared to the previous month, an augmentation was made in the sum of N8.65 billion from the Forex Equalization Fund Account, which brought the total distributable revenue to N605.59 billion.


“Federation revenues distributed monthly primarily consist of mineral revenues from the sale of oil and gas, as well as non-mineral revenues from customs and excise duties, company income tax, and value added tax.”


The Progressive Governors admits that there are periods when the country experiences significant fiscal shocks in federation revenues, but says the shocks are offset by other savings serviced from the federation account, including distributions from the domestic excess crude proceeds and the foreign excess crude savings account.


“These payments started since 2008 when the country first experienced fiscal shocks from the fallouts of the global financial crisis of 2008 – 2009. As a trained Economist who has been a Governor since 2016, Mr. Obaseki is aware of all the support states have received from President Buhari in coping with the shocks that have resulted from the CoviD 19 pandemic and resulting economic recession.


“Not only have we received budget support, bail out support to meet salary obligations and infrastructure refunds to all states, this was implemented in the overall public interest without discrimination on the basis of party affiliation. This is why it’s unfortunate and disingenuous to allege preferential treatment of APC states when PDP governed states are even greater beneficiaries of all the support,” said the PGF.


It said there was nothing exceptional in this current review of economic orthodoxy because “almost every Central Bank in the world is taking steps to support their government in coping with the effect of Covid 19 pandemic on the national economy. This has become the norm rather than the exception as all countries grapple with the deleterious effect of economic recession.”


The PGF continues: “This unfortunate and inaccurate assertion by Governor Obaseki becomes even more worrisome when juxtaposed with the official statement released after the meeting of PDP Governors last week, calling for restructuring and greater devolution of powers to the States. It would appear that matters that require the collective resolve of all leaders are now being turned into purely partisan, point scoring claims.


“Every discerning Nigerian knows that the APC’s position on restructuring and devolution is clearly articulated and accurately captured in the report of Governor Nasir el-Rufai’s committee on True Federalism. And the APC Governors Forum has since made representation to NASS in furtherance of that position. However, since there are constitutional boundaries, we cannot usurp the responsibilities of the NASS on constitutional reform process, having made our position known.


“These are challenging times for the country. The COVID-19 pandemic coupled with the recent macroeconomic challenges, has had a significant impact on government finances, however, both the federal and state governments are working assiduously to confront the challenge through greater collaboration to increase independent government revenues, rationalize non-essential spending and improve the efficiency of public spending.


“Indeed, we are beginning to see the positive impact of these initiatives given the country’s exit from recession in the first quarter of 2021.”


The PGF said while the right to criticize and hold alternative views is acknowledged, “all state governments have been equitably treated by both the Federal Government and national institutions, particularly the CBN. The support include, among others, bailouts, special interventions and various refunds that were owed to states prior to the Buhari administration.”


It explains further: “For example, as at June 2015, 27 states could not pay salaries but the Federal Government provided support to states to enable them to pay salaries and pensions. The federal government equally refunded the longstanding claim by states on deductions made in 2006, wrongly, to pay the Paris Club debt. Furthermore, states were refunded various amounts for roads and other projects undertaken on behalf of the Federal Government.


“In addition to the above, the Central Bank of Nigeria designed and implemented various interventions which helped in stimulating economic activity in all the states, and contributed to the country’s quick emergence from recession in 2016 and 2021. Such interventions include the Anchor Borrowers Programme, Accelarated Agriculture Development Scheme, Small and medium scale enterprises support scheme as well as expansion of pre-existing Programme such as Commercial Agriculture Credit.


“The world economy had been challenged in the last few years with fiscal and monetary authorities responding in various ways to support their respective economies. In all situations the Central Banks had responded to ease Credit and in a number of cases where interest rates were near zero, quantitative easing measures were undertaken to expand money supply to the economy.


“Given the constraints faced by the Nigerian economy, the Central Bank of Nigeria had responded commendably well while still working hard on exchange and interest rates. We urge the Governor, management and staff not be distracted. Equally we are grateful to President Muhammadu Buhari and his team for the support and partnership extended to all the federating units. In addition to occasional meetings with Mr. President, the National Economic Council, chaired by the Vice President, HE Prof Yemi Osinbajo, meets every month and all issues are discussed transparently and exhaustively.


“It would therefore be helpful to admonish ourselves as leaders to work collaboratively in tackling these challenges rather than resort to cheap and demagogic point scoring in our quest to rescue the economy.”


"Leave Obaseki alone, PDP Govs attack APC, FG


1. @GovernorObaseki merely offered a patriotic advise 


The PDP Governors Forum is alarmed at the partisan slant a patriotic advise to the @NigeriaGov by His Excellency,  @GovernorObaseki , on its monetary policies has assumed.


2  It is unhelpful for the Progressive Governors Forum to join the fray in the manner it did by its recent statement attacking the bona fides of @GovernorObaseki who merely warned the monetary authorities about the danger of uncontrolled use of Ways and Means, that is, the printing of Naira, to support government's expenditure.


3. @GovernorObaseki has a background in economics and finance and is a very responsible Governor who talks in a measured way . His advise, which by the way has been corroborated by none other than the Governor of the CBN himself, and the international ratings agency FITCH, should be heeded rather than being crucified for sounding a note of caution.


4. No doubt the @NigeriaGov has been supporting the States in the area of agriculture, budget, refund of Federal Government executed projects by States and a few other areas of intervention. Is CBN trying to be vindictive and vengeful by recalling its loans to the States because of an informed advise by a Governor?. It is unfortunate that governance has plummeted to this level.


5. The @NigeriaGov should plug financial leakages in the system and curb wasteful expenditure of billions of Naira on projects that can be executed by the private sector and save a lot of money in the process, thereby relying less on Ways and Means by the CBN , which brings pressure on the Naira with its inflationary consequences. Inflation in Nigeria is currently at 18.2 % ,  the highest in recent years. We should all be concerned to find ways of steming the tide.


6. We are all involved in the urgent task of rescuing the economy of Nigeria and nobody should indeed play the OSTRICH .


Hon CID Maduabum, LL.M

Director General,  @OfficialPDPNig Governors Forum

Special-Agro Industrial Processing Zones Set To Commence In 7 States in Nigeria- Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo has announced

 Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo has announced that the Special-Agro Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) Programme is set to commence in seven major states.

Brand Spur Nigeria understands that Osinbajo disclosed this in a statement on Friday evening, citing that the scheme will enable Nigeria to achieve sustainability and increased trade.



However, the scheme is in collaboration with the African Development Bank (AfDB) and other stakeholders such as the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Bank of Industry.


The agro-processing centres will be provided with basic infrastructure such as water, electricity and roads as well as facilities for skills training. Small-holder farmers in the catchment areas will be linked to markets across the value chain.


To set off the plan in the opening phase, 7 States representing most of the geo-political zones in the country have been selected in addition to the Federal Capital Territory. The States are Ogun, Oyo, Imo, Cross River, Kano, Kaduna, Kwara. All the other States in the country would be added later as the scheme progresses.

Forces Against NIN Policy Behind Attacks Against Me-Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami

 Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, has alleged forces against the Federal Government’s compulsory policy on National Identification Number (NIN) registration for all Nigerians and those residing in the country are behind recent attacks against him.


Pantami in an exclusive interview with PREMIUM TIMES dismissed all the allegations against him, describing them as ‘untrue’.


He further denied links to extremist views, saying criminals and other ‘entrenched interests’ are behind the attacks on him.


He said: “I have no doubt about this. It has to do with the National Identification Number. Do you know one thing? This policy was started in 2011, it was not successful. Why? It was fought


“…In 2015, it came up, it was not successful. In 2018 there was a time that there were meetings between government and mobile network operators.


“And it was actually announced that by the agreement with government, the deadline was January 2018. It is there online, I will share it with you if you like. By January 2018, it was not implemented because there are forces against it. There are forces!”


Pantami explained NIN registration is not only meant for Nigerians but it could be obtained by anybody in Nigeria.


He said: “Now they have started coming with the news that people are coming from neighbouring countries to register.


“What they fail to understand is that the National Identification Number is not only for Nigerians; anybody in Nigeria can obtain it.


Read Also: I’ve no ties with Boko Haram – Pantami

“Section 16 and 17 of the Act mention the registrable people in the country – citizens, legal residents, legal permanent residents, and legal residents for a minimum of two years. So, it is not only for citizens. And it is also important to know that this is not just an indication that they are citizens of Nigeria.


“It is rather an indication that you presented your biometric data, so the government has control over your data.


“And that data of NIMC (National Identity Management Commission), nobody has access to it in any way he likes. Getting access to it illegally is 10 years in prison. It is there in the law. But people will like to discredit it, because they don’t like it.”


The Minister added: “As long as it is implemented by the government, it will go a long way in reducing crime and based on the statistics we have been seeing now, it’s really encouraging.


“As government, our priority is the protection of the lives and property of our citizens. Security is our priority as a government – whether in agric, digital economy, education or in health, in whatever.


“President Muhammadu Buahari is so passionate about security, and he directed me to do that because he knows I try to persevere despite challenges and do what is right in the interest of our citizens and humanity.”


“You know as a government appointee, and at this level, if you say you are going to be intimidated by everything, then you cannot do the work. You cannot do the work.


” I was with the Minister of Foreign Affairs this week, on April 12. I was with the Minister. I was with the ambassadors of the U.K., the U.S., South Korea, and many other countries.



“Even this issue that we are talking about, based on our findings, preliminary investigation, many people are not happy with what we have been doing – linking National Identification Number with SIM. Because a situation will come that all the people using SIM to commit crime will not be able to do that.


“If they do that, the government will be able to intercept them easily. This is what they don’t want to happen. And this is a mandate given to me by President Muhammadu Buhari. He personally signed the letter that ‘you are mandated to do that’.


“As his appointee, I should either do it or say I cannot. So, since I am willing to serve my country, I must continue to do it to the best of my ability.


“So, in my meeting with them, they even encouraged me to push it and make it very successful.”

We Want Isa Pantami On Terrorist Watchlist - Nigerians Petition US Government

 Some Nigerians under a group, Concerned Nigerians, have written to the United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, asking that the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, be placed on the terrorists’ watchlist due to his extremist religious views.



The group stated on Friday that the US Secretary of State should order an investigation into the allegations and place him on the terrorist watchlist permanently.


The convener of the group, Deji Adeyanju, who signed the petition, stated that those in power who “express extremist views remain a threat to world peace as they support mass murder of both Christians and Muslims globally.”


The petition, obtained by SaharaReporters, and dated April 11, and written through the Ambassador, US Embassy in Nigeria, is titled, “Terrorist Watchlist – Isa Pantami.”


It partly reads, “We write to intimate you of remarks attributed to Sheikh Isa Pantami, Nigeria’s Communications Minister in several media blogs in the country wherein he was quoted as saying he was always happy whenever unbelievers are killed by terrorist groups. “It is also further alleged that he had in the past openly supported and endorsed global terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda and the Talibans.


“Pantami is said to have praised Osama Bin Laden describing him as a hero and a better Muslim than himself. He has not renounced these views in the face of new revelations by the media. His views are extremist views and a threat to a multi religious nation like Nigeria.


“He is a senior member of President Buhari’s regime and we are of the view that a supporter of Mullah Omar and Osama Bin Laden should not hold a sensitive position and be in charge of the database of Nigerians. We are confident that Mr. Pantami will not resign or be sacked despite the public outcry because President Buhari is drawn to men like him.


“We implore you to investigate these allegations and if true, place him on your terrorist watchlist permanently. Those who express extremist views remain a threat to world peace as they support mass murder of both Christians and Muslims globally. This remains unacceptable.


“Our reply to those who say these men may have had a change of heart is that terrorists don’t repent, they are only looking for an opportunity to get close to power so they can strike harder.”


Source: Sahara Reporters

What Next to Do With U.S. Forces in the Persian Gulf- President Joe Biden to withdraw all U.S. forces from Afghanistan

In 1971, Alain C. Enthoven and K. Wayne Smith, two of former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara’s so-called “whiz kids,” wrote a book titled How Much is Enough? Shaping the Defense Program. The subject was defense spending. And the title promised an answer, but like other perennials, the question still pops up multiple times every year in public policy decisions. It’s a simple and important one, but there remains no black and white answer.



U.S. President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw all U.S. forces from Afghanistan before Sept. 11 is a twofer: Since some U.S. forces deployed to the Persian Gulf are there to support U.S. operations in Afghanistan, they can be withdrawn and repurposed for other missions as the United States ends its military engagement in Afghanistan. However, the Biden administration will continue to struggle with how much is enough regarding the thousands of other military personnel in the Persian Gulf it inherited from its predecessor, including those dedicated to supporting U.S. military operations in Iraq.


This is, of course, not a new debate; but over the past several years, the chorus calling for ending the United States’ endless wars in the Middle East have cast a brighter light on the value of sustaining the country’s historic role as the guarantor of security in the Persian Gulf. As of yet, no consensus has emerged.


As is almost always the case in Washington policy debates, positions have become hardened around two extremes: Pack up the troops and go home, or stay the course. The answer, unsurprisingly, lies somewhere in between. As long as the rest of the world—if not the United States—remains dependent on oil and gas exports from the Persian Gulf, the United States and Iran are in conflict, and there is a potential for Iran to go nuclear or attack U.S. allies and partners in the region, the United States will need to maintain a military presence as a hedge. This military footprint, however, can be smaller than it is today.


Decisions about how small, exactly, should be based on a hard-headed calculation of U.S. interests in the Persian Gulf; an understanding of threats to those interests; and an assessment of the benefits, costs, risks, and implications of each policy choice. So what should a racking and stacking of those factors look like?


The champions of U.S. military disengagement from the Persian Gulf make several arguments.


First, the United States has no vital interests in the Persian Gulf. The region’s strategic importance to the country is declining primarily because of its growing energy production and global energy market diversification.


Second, the main threats to regional security and stability are internal, stemming from state weakness and dysfunctional governance; U.S. military forces are ill-suited to address these sources of conflict.


Third, core U.S. interests in the region are not currently endangered and can be safeguarded at a lower cost and with fewer risks and military resources. The United States does not need to maintain a permanent peacetime military presence to protect the free flow of oil, defend Israeli security, combat jihadist terrorism, or prevent the emergence of a hostile regional hegemon.


Fourth, the United States would save a considerable amount of money if forces in the Persian Gulf were withdrawn to the United States.


Fifth, the capabilities the United States deploys in the Persian Gulf would be better allocated to the European and Indo-Pacific theaters to wage great-power competition with Russia and China.


Finally, limiting the exposure of U.S. military forces in the Persian Gulf would reduce the risk of their involvement in other countries’ internal conflicts; as long as the United States operates forces in the region, the argument goes, it will be too tempting for U.S. leaders to pursue military solutions to foreign-policy problems.


Proponents of maintaining the military status quo contend the financial and strategic benefits of military retrenchment have been exaggerated. Their argument goes as follows:


First, most U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf support U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and are performing non-combat roles, such as training, advising, and assisting local forces. As long as the United States maintains its missions in these two countries, there is only a limited scope for force reductions.


Second, the deployment of U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf was never about ensuring U.S. access to its oil supplies—given its ability to get oil elsewhere—but rather about access for the United States’ friends, allies, and partners around the world. Although the Persian Gulf may be of declining strategic significance to the United States, Washington still has important interests in maintaining the stability of global energy markets and deterring Iranian adventurism.


Third, instability would threaten U.S. security partners and potentially create more safe havens for groups seeking to attack the United States while Iran’s assertiveness and geopolitical aspirations in the region could spark a conflict with the United States itself.


Fourth, U.S. forces stationed in Gulf Cooperation Council states suffer very few casualties, and their current force posture is relatively small and cheap to maintain in the context of a $740 billion 2021 fiscal year defense budget request. Withdrawing these forces would not save any money unless they are dropped from the force structure, which is highly unlikely.


 Moreover, because Persian Gulf states provide outstanding training facilities and bear most of the costs of supporting U.S. forces, relocating these assets would cost the Pentagon more money. The current U.S. military presence is politically sustainable—it does not engender local hostility, threaten domestic stability, create political problems for host countries, or present a serious risk of terrorist attacks.


In addition, the champions of the status quo contend the potential strategic risks of military disengagement have been underestimated. It could frighten U.S. allies, and the more vulnerable those allies feel to attack, the more likely some of them will act aggressively against Iran. In other words, U.S. forces are in the region not only to deter Iran but also to restrain U.S. partners.


Disengagement could also, they argue, erode credibility of the U.S. extended conventional deterrent. Tehran could decide to act more aggressively because it sees U.S. retrenchment as evidence that the United States is no longer committed to defending Gulf states. These states, led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, could likewise decide the United States is no longer a reliable security partner and develop their own nuclear programs, spurring a regional arms race.


If the United States left, it would also have less leverage on oil issues with Saudi Arabia in those (admittedly extreme) circumstances when a sudden, steep, and sustained drop in oil supplies sends the global price of oil through the roof and the U.S. president is willing to turn the screws on his counterpart to ramp up Saudi oil production to lower prices.


There are good arguments on both sides, but the key driver of the current U.S. force posture is the potential for conflict with Iran. Thus, the only safe exit ramp for U.S. forces out of the Persian Gulf hinges on a long overdue resolution of the nuclear and regional issues that have vexed the U.S.-Iranian relationship for years. But as long as those two countries are in a state of conflict, U.S. military access to regional bases and a military presence will be necessary. 


The United States does not, however, need to maintain all the forces it currently stations in the Persian Gulf once U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have wound down or been terminated.The United States does not, however, need to maintain all the forces it currently stations in the Persian Gulf once U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have wound down or been terminated.

A quick tour of the Gulf horizon suggests the United States should maintain its modest military presence in Bahrain unless its presence becomes a major source of instability. If the United States is going to maintain regular offshore naval deployments in the Arabian Sea, as it should, pulling up stakes in Bahrain would not be prudent or cost effective.


U.S. forces that were temporarily deployed to Saudi Arabia over the past two years should be withdrawn while air and missile defenses of critical infrastructure should be upgraded.


Downsizing some bases and trimming military personnel in Kuwait, the UAE, and Qatar would be justified by the end of U.S. expeditionary operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.


These recommendations are based on our judgment that strategic and financial benefits of removing all U.S. forces from the Persian Gulf have been exaggerated and the risks associated with full military disengagement have been understated. 


The United States’ modest military presence in the Persian Gulf is affordable and politically sustainable; it also provides some value—although admittedly difficult to quantify and dependent on a given administration’s reputation—in deterring Iranian adventurism and reassuring U.S. allies in the region of its security commitment. It also enables a swift response to a range of military contingencies.


The United States’ core interests in the region can be protected with a smaller and more rationalized military presence, supplemented as necessary by rotational U.S. force deployments. These modest drawdowns will be criticized as too timid by advocates of military retrenchment while hawks on Iran will attack any withdrawals as a U.S. retreat from its leadership and a betrayal of its security partners and allies in the region. 


This very basic stance will ensure the United States is not caught unprepared in an area where it still has important—if diminishing—interests and which could offer unpleasant surprises as long as the United States and Iran have a hostile relationship. Until they reach some kind of compromise, a complete reduction of the United States’ presence will be constrained by the ancient adage, “if you want peace, prepare for war.”

EFCC Releases Ex-Imo Governor, Okorocha



The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has released the former Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha after he spent two nights in detention.


Okorocha was released on Thursday evening, according to Daily Trust.


The former Governor is presently at his Maitama residence in Abuja.


Binnabook recalls that the EFCC invited Okorocha on Tuesday for questioning.


Okorocha, who governed Imo between 2011 and 2019, has been accused of embezzlement and misappropriation of state funds by the Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodinma.



In February, the lawmaker accused Uzodinma of unleashing the EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) against him.


Okorocha refuted the allegations, saying the state government had not been able to prove corruption allegations against him and his family in court.

President Akufo-Addo signs book of condolence in honour of Prince Philip

 




On Wednesday, 14th April 2021, after delivering the keynote address at the National Dialogue on Small-Scale Mining, I went to the British High Commission to sign the book of condolence opened for Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.


Prince Philip's life had a positive impact on us in Ghana. Over 750,000 young Ghanaians have benefitted from the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, the great initiative he established in 1956, sixty-five (65) years ago, to unearth talents amongst young people the world over.





 It is now known in Ghana as the Head of State Award Scheme, and I had the honour, two days before his death, of cutting the sod for the construction of its own administrative office building, making Ghana one of the few countries in the world, and the second in Africa, to have such an office. 

His place in Ghanaian history is secure, and we appreciate very much his contact with us.

President Joe Biden Unveils Plan to Withdraw U.S. Troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11 2021

 President Joe Biden on Wednesday formally announced his decision to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan before September 11, the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon that led the US into its longest war.



"We cannot continue the cycle of extending or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan hoping to create the ideal conditions for our withdrawal, expecting a different result," Biden said.


"I am now the fourth American president to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan. Two Republicans. Two Democrats," he added. "I will not pass this responsibility to a fifth."


In a sign he views his remarks as a historic bookend to the prolonged conflict, he delivered them from precisely the same spot in the White House Treaty Room that President George W. Bush announced the start of the war on October 7, 2001.


Afterward he'll visit the section of Arlington National Cemetery where many of America's war dead from Afghanistan are buried.




Biden will say that American diplomatic and humanitarian efforts will continue in Afghanistan and would support peace efforts between the Afghan government and the Taliban. But he'll be unequivocal that two decades after it began, the Afghanistan war is ending.


"It is time to end America's longest war. It is time for American troops to come home," he said.


Biden said the withdrawal will begin on May 1, in line with an agreement President Donald Trump's administration made with the Taliban. He said the complete withdrawal will be done by September 11.


The deadline Biden has set is absolute, with no potential for extension based on worsening conditions on the ground. Officials said after two decades of war, it was clear to the President that throwing more time and money at Afghanistan's problems wasn't going to work.


"This is not conditions-based," a senior administration official heavily involved in the deliberations said on Tuesday. "The President has judged that a conditions-based approach, which has been the approach of the past two decades, is a recipe for staying in Afghanistan forever."


Some US troops will remain to protect American diplomats, though officials declined to provide a precise number.



Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said Wednesday he spoke to Biden and that he "respects the US decision."


"Afghanistan's proud security and defense forces are fully capable of defending its people and country, which they have been doing all along, and for which the Afghan nation will forever remain grateful," Ghani said on Twitter.

Former Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha-I Have No Problem With EFCC Arresting Me

 The embattled former Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, has said that there is nothing wrong for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arresting him to answer some questions arising from numerous petitions against him.



This was contained in a statement issued on Tuesday night by Okorocha’s Special Adviser (Media), Sam Onwuemeodo. The senator, representing Imo West Senatorial District in the Senate, also accused the Imo State government of fuelling his ordeal via petitions written against him to the anti-graft agency, noting that as a result, legal actions instituted against the commission were pending at various courts.


The statement, which was released following the phone calls put to the Senate Committee Chairman on Culture and Tourism’s Media Aide, said: “We have been inundated with calls by media houses and concerned Nigerians and beyond, trying to confirm the reported invitation of Rochas Okorocha by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission later today, being April 13, 2021.




“The truth is that Okorocha left as the governor of Imo State on May 28, 2019. And shortly after his exit as governor, Imo State government wrote petitions upon petitions against him.


“The EFCC investigated the petitions and had been in various courts of the land with Okorocha to that effect.


“At the end of the day, we would know whether the commission will be withdrawing the cases in courts or continue with them.”

MEANWHILE, a group, Igbo Youths For Equity, has accused the EFCC of allowing itself to be used as a tool for political witch-hunt, following the arrest of Okorocha.


In a statement signed by its spokesman, Captain Izundu Marcel, the group expressed concerns over “attempts by some highly placed politicians from outside Igboland to frustrate the Igbo presidency agenda.”


It said that Igbo youths would not sit idly while some interests continue to allegedly single out their key leaders for humiliation.


“We are concerned that over the last two years, there seems to have been deliberate attempt by a group of political hawks from outside Igboland to humiliate and demoralise key leaders from Igboland whom they consider as threats to their ambition.

EFCC Arrested Senator Rochas Okorocha Over ₦7.9 Billion Fraud

 Senator Rochas Okorocha was grilled at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday for “suspected multiple cases of fraud and money laundering during his tenure as governor”.



Okorocha, representing Imo West in the Senate, was governor between 2011 and 2019.


He was arrested about 4pm according to a source in the anti-graft agency to answer questions on various allegations leveled against him including alleged N7.9 billion fraud.


The ex-governor is also being probed for another N1.5 billion hospital linked to one of his former aides.


The EFCC had secured a final forfeiture order on the hospital in the court of Justice T G Ringim of the Federal High Court in Owerri.


The state-of-the art 200-bed Dews of Hope Hospital, Owerri, was suspected to have been built with Imo State funds when Okorocha held the forte as governor.


An EFCC source said: “The ex-governor has been on the EFCC radar in the last three years over alleged N7. 9 billion money laundering. One of our investigators appeared in court and declared why he was wanted.


“He also has questions to answer on a separate N1.5 billion hospital built with funds from the Imo State accounts and traced to one of his former aides.


“On July 25, 2019, we invoked Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud, and other Related Offences Act 2006 to seize the hospital which ex-aide disowned.


“Okorocha has to explain the mystery behind the hospital. His former aide and members of board of directors of the hospital said they did not know how it was built.


“The managing director of the hospital, on invitation, could not also explain how the hospital project was funded.


“But, preliminary investigation confirmed that a former permanent secretary during Okorocha’s administration was a signatory to the hospital’s accounts.”


The source added: “There may be other multiple cases as uncovered by the past and present administrations in the state. He is undergoing interrogation as I speak with you.”


It was unclear if Okorocha will be quizzed over N112.8 billion “dubious debts” owed the state by nine commercial banks.


A Commission of Inquiry had recommended that Okorocha should account for the debts.


The Head of Media and Publicity of EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, said: “It is true that Okorocha has been arrested. It is about a case some of you are familiar with.”


Okorocha’s arrest was the climax of his attempt to stop his investigation by the EFCC in the last one year.


On May 18, last year, the former governor filed a suit to stop the EFCC from probing him.


He prayed the court to “direct the 1st defendant (EFCC) and the 3rd to the 10th defendants (the Imo state attorney-general (AG) and the Justice Iheaka-led probe panel on contract awards) to stay all further actions and proceedings until the 2nd defendant (the state AG) decides who should carry out the investigation.”


But on July 8, a Federal High Court in Abuja refused his application to restrain the EFCC from investigating him for alleged financial violations while in office.


Okorocha has also been having a running battle with Imo State Governor Hope Uzodimma over alleged acquisition of public assets, including a university.


The state government also linked him to the recent attacks on Owerri by gunmen who invaded the state police headquarters and the Correctional Centre where they freed almost 2,000 prisoners.

USA: Curfew In Minneapolis After Police Killing Of Black Man

 Authorities in and around Minneapolis have announced a curfew for Monday night after a police officer shot dead a young Black man, dramatically escalating tensions in the US city.


“I have declared a state of emergency in the city of Minneapolis, and we are following that up with a curfew that will begin at 7:00 pm (2300 GMT) tonight (and) go until 6:00 am tomorrow morning,” Mayor Jacob Frey told a press conference.


The curfew will also be enforced in the twin city of St. Paul and surrounding communities including Hennepin County, where 20-year-old Daunte Wright was killed Sunday when a police officer mistakenly used her gun instead of a taser during a confrontation.


Minneapolis, the largest city in the US state of Minnesota, is already on edge because it is in the midst of the murder trial of George Floyd, an African American who died last May 25 after a white police officer placed his knee on his neck for more than nine minutes.


That killing sparked a series of protests across the nation, some of them violent, and led to an ongoing racial reckoning in America.


President Joe Biden has called for an end to systemic racism in the country.


But on Monday, while calling the shooting of Wright “tragic,” Biden warned against violent protests and said people should wait for a full investigation to be conducted.


Earlier in the day authorities in Brooklyn Center, where Wright was killed, released police body camera footage that shows an officer shoot Wright after he tried to escape during a traffic stop.


The Brooklyn Center police chief says the officer mixed up her firearm with the taser she had been meaning to use

 

Ballots, Not Courts Should Determine Election Winners – Former President Goodluck Jonathan

 Former President Goodluck Jonathan has said the ballot by the electorate and not the judiciary should determine the winners of elections in the country.

He said this on Monday in Abuja, when he visited the digital pan-African news network, the TOS TV network, led by Ms. Osasu Igbinedion.


“Ballot papers should be the basis of selecting political officeholders. If it is the judiciary that should select them then we are not yet there. I am not saying the judiciary is not doing well but our laws should suppress the idea of our judiciary returning candidates.


“The ballots should decide who occupies the councillorship seat up to the presidency; that is democracy,” Jonathan said.


He also urged the nation’s youths to participate in politics, saying the political system controls everything globally and that the nation’s youths should not be left behind.


He said his administration gave women and youths the opportunity to take part in politics, adding that was the only way they could influence government programmes and policies and effect changes.


The former president, who lost the 2015 presidential election to incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, also decried money politics and criticised politicians using gifts to sway voters.


South West and the 2023 Presidency Permutation

 As various interests strategise for 2023, the issue of zoning of presidential tickets by the two leading political parties is posing challenges to the Southwest.



While stakeholders in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) insist that a 2014 understanding of North, South rotation of the presidency be allowed to stand, stakeholders in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are cleverly not showing commitment. Rather, they are concerned by the need for the PDP to have a strong candidate, irrespective of zoning, to oust the ruling party.


Religion could play a role in determining candidates the region will throw up, especially on the APC platform. Some members of the party are of the view that the North would prefer a Southern Christian to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari. Their contention is that such arrangement would allow the north to produce a strong Muslim, as a running mate. Otherwise, the country may witness another Muslim/Muslim scenario as it occurred in 1993 when the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP) produced the late MKO Abiola, a southern Muslim, and Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, a northern Muslim as candidate and running mate.


IF the argument is sustained, it limits the ambition of the national leader of APC, Bola Tinubu, who is a Muslim from Southwest. The North might not be disposed to another Muslim from the South succeeding the incumbent since this will leave the region with the challenge of searching for an acceptable Christian to present as running mate.


Although Tinubu is yet to declare his intention to contest the presidency, his body language seems to have given him out. Recall that a former lawmaker, Dayo Adeyeye, recently disclosed that the reason for the establishment of the South-West Agenda (SWAGA) was for it to serve as an organ for the presidential campaign of Tinubu. Yet, the national leader has failed to deny or dissociate himself from the activities of the group and others who have been speaking for him.


However, should the APC concede the presidential slot to the South and micro-zone it to the Southwest, there are about five likely contenders the region may pick from.


There is Bola Tinubu, who is already interfacing with other stakeholders across the country ahead of APC’s national convention scheduled to hold later in the year. His Muslim background may, however, hamper his ambition should exigencies favour a Southern Christian to succeed Buhari.


THE Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo could be favoured in the scheme of things. He stands a fair chance being a Christian, having served as the vice president so far.


The argument against his choice could be that he is also from Ogun State, like Olusegun Obasanjo, who did eight years as president.


An inside source in Southwest APC, told The Guardian, “There is nothing wrong with Osinbajo but it would amount to cheating on other states from the zone if Ogun State produces the next president.


“Premier of Old Western Region, the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo came from Ogun State. Head of the defunct Interim National Government (ING), Chief Ernest Shonekan, also came from Ogun State. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo is from Ogun State while Osinbajo himself is from Ogun.


“It would be cheating on other states from Southwest if Ogun again presents Buhari’s successor on APC platform in 2023, or are we saying there are no qualified people from Oyo, Osun, Ondo, Lagos, and Ekiti to rule Nigeria?”


ANOTHER possible contender is the incumbent Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who is also the Chairman Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF).


The former Minister of Solid Minerals Development is said to have a strong working relationship with the north, especially as he is alleged to belong to the Abuja cabal, which is touted to prefer anybody else apart from Tinubu to succeed President Buhari in 2023.


It was alleged that the opportunity granted to the Ekiti State governor by the northern elite to address the Arewa House at the Forum on the 50th Anniversary of the Centre for Historical Documentation and Research (Arewa House), on October 30, 2020, indicated the confidence the northern hegemony has in Fayemi. “This may likely translate into support for the governor in the 2023 calculations if the party decides to zone the presidency to Southwest,” the source added.


In the speech titled: ‘Unfinished Greatness – Towards a More Perfect Union in Nigeria’, Fayemi assured the north that, the notion that the amalgamation of southern and northern Nigeria 1914 was a mistake, was wrong. Rather, he said what Nigerians need to do is to conquer “the demon of mutual suspicion and distrust that has poisoned Nigeria’s politics and subverted its will to forge the necessary consensus crucial to marching confidently towards our destiny as a great nation.”


But does Fayemi have the war chest to contest the party’s ticket with Tinubu if the game is left open? Unlike the national leader, Fayemi seems to stand a better chance of getting the support of major socio-cultural groups in Southwest, but how far that translates into wider support of the zone remains in the works.


INCUMBENT Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola is another possible choice for the region. He is said to be very close to and loved by President Buhari as well as other northern elements in the party.


Before President Buhari nominated his cabinet after the 2015 election, there were speculations that the powers-that-be in Lagos was not disposed to Fashola’s ministerial appointment. But surprisingly, Buhari put him in charge of three ministries, Power, Housing, and Works. That was the first of its kind in the country. In 2019, the president only removed the Ministry of Power and still left Fashola to control Works and Housing.


Since 2015, the minister has been seen as the starboy of President Buhari’s government even despite its lackluster performance. Fashola had distanced himself from party politics, but his recent advice to the leadership of APC to respect the ‘gentleman agreement’ of power shift to Southwest after Buhari’s tenure in 2023 suggests there may be some undercurrents.


Though, Fashola may also face the challenge of religion if the party decides to push him for the presidency, sources in the party say the former Lagos governor still stands a better chance among other contenders.


Years after going off the spotlight over the loss of his re-election bid in 2019, the Mai Mala-Buni-led Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) recently appointed former Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos into its Contact/Strategy Committee.


THE decision to bring Ambode on board is considered in certain quarters as a way of preparing him for a greater task.


Ambode, being a Christian, might also be on the shop list of the northern oligarchy in their search for who to succeed Buhari in 2023.


Meanwhile, a source from the party dismissed the insinuation, saying, the best the party could do to reward the former governor of Lagos is to offer him a return ticket to complete his remaining four years.


SPEAKING on the issue of Southwest and 2023 presidency, a member of the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT), Chief Ebenezer Babatope said the PDP is yet to give the issue of zoning the presidency to South any consideration. He said, “If the party eventually decides to zone the presidency to the South and also micro-zone if to Southwest, we may have no choice than to support Chief Olabode George to vie for the ticket.”


According to him, “to contest the presidency involves a lot of money, energy, and influence, which Chief George possesses. In the absence of that, we are not desperate to have the ticket in Southwest; our major concern is that the PDP should present a strong candidate that has what it takes to defeat APC in 2023. Nigerians need to chase APC out of government in 2023 because the suffering is too much. The incumbent administration has lost what it takes to rule Nigeria for another four years.”


Babatope added that if the principle of justice, equity, and fairness is to apply, “Southeast is the zone to produce the next president after Buhari. But that may not apply in the circumstance we found ourselves now.”


A chieftain of APC and National Chairman of Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG), Mr. Wale Oshun said the agreement in the party was that the presidency would rotate between North and South. “But on the platform of APC, if we are to argue where the party is stronger, we can then talk of Southwest because of its contribution to the victory of APC in 2015 and 2019. There is no zone that does not have qualified and competent people in terms of education and other qualities to rule Nigeria.”


Oshun, however, dismissed the factor of religion as a non-issue when it comes to Southwest. “We don’t lay too much emphasis on religion. I don’t see any religious factor working against anybody if the party micro-zones the presidential ticket to Southwest.”


The former National Vice Chairman, PDP Southwest, Dr. Eddy Olafeso said the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) is still studying the report of Governor Bala Mohammed and will submit its findings to the National Executive Council (NEC) for ratification.


He added that the issue of zoning was not as important in PDP as the best strategy to deploy to push APC out of power in 2023.

South East Nigeria Governors Create Security Network Called Ebubeagu

 EBUBEAGU is the name of our joint security outfit with its headquarters in Enugu to coordinate our vigilante in the geo-political zone - South East Governors






Read full text of the Communique...


COMMUNIQUE ISSUED BY SOUTH EAST GOVERNORS AND HEADS OF SECURITY AGENCIES AT THE END OF THE FIRST SOUTH EAST SECURITY SUMMIT HELD IN OWERRI ON SUNDAY APRIL 11th 2021

After exhaustive discussions on the current security challenges in the South East and with valuable contributions from participants at the first South East security summit in Owerri on this day Sunday April 11th 2021, it was resolved as follows:


1. To strongly and unequivocally condemn terrorism and banditry in any part of Nigeria, particularly in the South East. The meeting strongly condemns the burning of police stations, violent attacks on custodial centres with the unlawful release of inmates, and the killings including security personnel, natives/ farmers and headsmen.


2. That the five South East states are on the same page with the federal government on the issue of security challenges in the country. To this end, the meeting makes it absolutely clear that the South east will stand resolutely with the federal government to fight terrorists and bandits to a finish


3..That the political leadership in the South East has resolved to bring together all the arsenals at their command, as one united zone, to fight and flush out criminals and terrorist from the zone.


4. That the summit resolved that to achieve this, there is a need to galvanise all the relevant stakeholders in the south east, the political class, the business community, the bureaucrats and the intelligentsia to provide all necessary support to security operatives in the five south east states to ensure total success in the fight against criminality in the zone.


5.That the heads of all the security agencies in the south east have resolved to exchange intelligence in a seamless, effective new order that will help to checkmate crime in the zone.


6. That to fast track crime-busting in the south east, the heads of security agencies have been mandated to draw up a comprehensive list of their logistics and material needs for sustainable success in the fight against criminality, for the immediate provision by the leadership of the South East.


7. That a committee made up of security personnel, government officials and relevant stakeholders be set up to coordinate and monitor the implementation of the south east joint security platform.


8. To applaud the initiative of the South east security summit and to make it a statutory summit that will convene every quarter while its hosting shall rotate among the five south east states.


9. The meeting resolved to maintain a joint security vigilante for the South East otherwise known as Ebube Agu.


10. The meeting appreciated the formation of South East joint security outfit co. Named Ebubeagu. Headquarters in Enugu to coordinate our vigilante in the South East.


11. South East Governors requested the Acting IGP to stop the influx of IGP monitory units but to allow cps and state and Zonal commands to handle their cases.


12. Meeting approve that the acting IGP and other security chiefs do invite the leadership of Ohaneze Ndigbo and CAN to find out the reason for increasing insecurity of the South East .


13. Meeting agreed that military policing in the South East should be adequately funded and become effective.


14. Meeting agreed that open grazing has been banned and security agency should implement the ban.


15..The meeting encouraged a peaceful coexistence of farmers and headers to allow Governors to succeed in the fight against criminality.


Enugu State is in the hands of God!

Lagos State Govt Eases Restrictions On Event Centres



The Lagos State government has further eased restrictions on social and event centres across the state.


Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu gave the approval after due consultation and deliberations with relevant stakeholders, as well as Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs), the government said on Friday.


Following the approval, the Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture in Lagos, Mrs Uzamat Yusuff, and the Director-General of the Lagos State Safety Commission, Mr Lanre Mojola, issued a press release containing the new guidelines for social and event centres.


They warned that any violation of the protocol would attract fines and penalties, in line with the Lagos State Infectious Diseases Control Regulation 2020.


See the new guidelines below:


All event centres must hold a valid license of The Lagos State Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture prior to operating as an event centre in the State.


All event centres must be duly registered and verified on The Lagos State Safety Commission website www.lasgsafetyreg.com prior to holding any event.


An Event Safety Clearance must be obtained from the Lagos State Safety Commission through the website www.lasgsafetyreg.com for any proposed event or exhibition.


Safety Marshals shall be deployed by an accredited event safety consultant from Lagos State Safety Commission for every social event with attendance exceeding over 200 people.


Occupancy limit at any event must not exceed 50% of the maximum design capacity of the hall, wherein Occupancy Limit stickers provided by the Lagos State Safety Commission must be boldly pasted at the entrance of the event hall.


Maximum allowable capacity for Event Centres irrespective of occupancy limit is 500 people.


Deep cleaning must be carried out before and after every event.


Physical distancing shall be maintained between seated guests and a maximum number of seated guests should be 6 (six) people on a table of 10 persons.


Event duration should not exceed a maximum period of 6-hours.


All guests and service providers at the facility must wear a nose mask and make use of hand sanitizers


All guests and service providers must endeavour to wash their hands before entering the venue or in the alternative use hand sanitizers.


Temperature checks must be taken at all entry points into a facility.


Guests and service providers with temperature (above 37.5) are to be politely turned back and referred to paramedics or the emergency response team on ground.


Hand sanitizers must be positioned at the entry points and different spots within the hall.


All event centres must endeavour to display standard COVID-19 safety signs. The signs must be bold and installed at conspicuous locations.


Event centre owners/ planners/vendors would be responsible for any breach of protocols by their staff.





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