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Bandits are terrorists – Garba Shehu tackles Lai Mohammed

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Bandits are terrorists - Garba Shehu tackles Lai Mohammed
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Bandits are terrorists – Garba Shehu tackles Lai Mohammed

President Muhammadu Buhari’s media aide Garba Shehu has denounced the claim of information minister Lai Mohammed that bandits terrorising the country, especially the North-West, are common criminals.

According to Mr Shehu, the murderous bandits are terrorists just like Boko Haram insurgents.
“But this too, the Economist inaccurately described: ‘bandits’ who have the resources and technology to shoot down a military fighter jet are not bandits at all – but rather highly organised crime syndicates with huge resources and weaponry.

Yet, they are essentially no different to Boko Haram in this regard who are now cornered,” argued the presidential spokesman in response to a UK-based paper, The Economist, which reported on the worsening insecurity under Mr Buhari’s regime.

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information minister Lai Mohammed described the bandits ravaging the North as ordinary criminals, as pressure mounts for Mr Buhari to activate measures to treat them as a terrorist group.

Bandits are terrorists – Garba Shehu tackles Lai Mohammed

The Economist noted that terrorists and armed bandits are increasing their activities due to the corruption and laziness from Mr Buhari and his administration, adding that Nigeria’s insecurity could be curbed if the president would focus on Nigeria’s unemployment crisis by cutting government waste.

Mr Shehu’s comments come amidst the Buhari-led regime’s reluctance to declare the extremist groups as such publicly.
Government officials and other prominent individuals have aired opposing views regarding designating the bandits as terrorists.

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Islamic Cleric Sheikh Ahmad Gumi also warned against Mr Buhari declaring bandits as terrorists, saying it will mark the end of Nigeria as a sovereign and united entity.
Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna had also expressed his displeasure at the reluctance of Mr Buhari’s regime to declare the bandits as terrorists.

Mr El-Rufai noted that just two years after Mr Buhari assumed power, he had requested the regime to declare the bandits as terrorists in several letters.
Mr El-Rufai’s Kaduna has been amongst the most devastated by the violent marauding criminals terrorising Nigeria’s northwestern region in recent years, abducting hundreds of schoolchildren for ransom and plundering communities.

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They were responsible for the multiple abductions of students that have forced schools to shut down in Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, and Zamfara. In July, the bandits shut down a Nigerian Air Force jet in Zamfara and raided the Nigerian Defence Academy Kaduna.

Although Mr Buhari acknowledged bandits have been terrorising the country, his regime has been reluctant to declare bandits as terrorists because they have yet to declare a political or religious goal, a key requisite in designating a movement as terrorists under international regulations.

“‘bandits’ who have the resources and technology to shoot down a military fighter jet are not bandits at all…they are essentially no different to Boko Haram.”

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SaMBA Mounts Pressure on Buhari to sign 2021 Electoral Act Amendment Bill

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SaMBA Mounts Pressure on Buhari to sign 2021 Electoral Act Amendment Bill
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SaMBA Mounts Pressure on Buhari to sign 2021 Electoral Act Amendment Bill

…says Nigerians are apprehensive at the delay in signing the bill.

The Southern and Middle Belt Alliance has mounted pressure on President Muhammadu Buhari to quickly sign the 2021 Electoral Act Amendment Bill into law saying Nigerians are apprehensive at the delay in signing the bill into law.

The group in a letter submitted to President Buhari dated December 6, and signed by SaMBA General Secretary, Marcel Ngogbehei, said the proposed amendment has addressed the issue raised in the amendment of the Electoral Bill passed by the eight National Assembly.
The Alliance reminded the President of his pledge in January 2019, while inaugurating the APC presidential campaign council in Abuja, to leave a legacy of credible elections in Nigeria and stated, “that this is the foundation of political stability and peace in any nation.”
SaMBA urged all relevant stakeholders, particularly the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to continue to constructively engage the Nigerian people so that the lessons gleaned from the recent use of technology during the Anambra and Edo state elections are not lost and ensure that every Nigerian who has registered for the coming 2023 elections are able to retrieve their voters’ card seamlessly to avoid the incessant case of disenfranchisement of eligible voters.

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The letter titled “Re: Take Advantage of The Electoral Act Amendment Bill to strengthen our Democracy”, reads:

“We the members of the Southern and Middle Belt Alliance (SaMBA) urge you to sign the 2021 Electoral Act Amendment Bill into law.

“We recall that on November 9, 2021, the House of Representatives and the Senate chambers passed into law amendments to the Electoral Act.

“The most topical items of amendment included the adoption of direct primaries for internal political parties’ contestants and the use of technology in the conduct of general elections in Nigeria.

“The need was also identified for the expansion of the powers of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to develop guidelines as it deemed fit towards the deployment of technology during elections in Nigeria.

“The President will recall that majority of Nigerians had described the 2021 amendments of the Electoral Act as one of the most progressive enactments that Nigeria has had in a long time. This is also the view of the SaMBA, whose press statement dated 23rd September 2021, strongly urged the Senate to “redeem their battered image by adopting the House of Representatives’ version of Section 53(2) of the Bill” and not subject the powers of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to the approval of the National Communication Commission.

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“Nigerians are apprehensive at the delay in signing the Bill into law, seeing that the President had on three previous occasions declined assent to this Bill, for varied reasons – In March 2018, you believed that the proposed law could usurp the constitutional powers of INEC to decide on election matters; On another occasion you were concerned that the new electoral act would “create uncertainty and confusion” as Nigerians approached the 2019 elections.

“Fortunately, the proposed 2021 Amended Electoral Act, has addressed your fears, there should be no reason to delay your assent. This is more so as we recall that In January 2019, while inaugurating the APC presidential campaign council in Abuja, Mr. President, you expressed your desire to leave a legacy of credible elections in Nigeria. You stated that this is the foundation of political stability and peace in any nation.

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“SaMBA however, cautions that the passage of the 2021 amendment to the Electoral Act is only a journey and not the destination. We urge all stakeholders, especially INEC to continue to constructively engage the Nigerian people to ensure that the lessons gleaned from recent and remote deployment of technology during the Anambra and Edo state elections are not lost.

“We also call for confidence building measures by INEC, particularly through voter education and sensitisation, transparency and security of the software and hardware components of technology to be deployed for elections, involving all stakeholders to scrutinise and review the software and hardware components prior to procurement, deployment, and operations, and returning internal party democracy to the people through direct primaries, so that democracy in Nigeria will live up to its fullest and truest meaning.”

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Police release 7 Boko Haram suspects after three-year unlawful detention

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Police release 7 Boko Haram suspects after three-year unlawful detention
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Police release 7 Boko Haram suspects after three-year unlawful detention

Respite has finally come the way of the alleged Maiduguri-based Boko Haram suspects following their release on Tuesday in Abuja after spending over three years in police detention.

The seven detainees were set free on the order of a Federal High Court in Abuja issued on December 1 by Justice Modupe Olajuwon.

Their release comes exactly seven days after the court order was issued.

Their lawyer, Peter Abbo, who filed and argued a fundamental human rights enforcement suit on their behalf, confirmed their release to our correspondent.

Justice Olajuwon had on December 1 in a judgment ordered police to pay the sum of N15 million to the seven over their unlawful detention for three years without trial.

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The suspects, who were said to have been arrested inside a Maiduguri market, were allegedly dumped at the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) detention facility at Abbatoir in Abuja.

Justice Olajuwon, in the judgment on their fundamental human rights enforcement suit, had held that the detention of the men for three years without trial contravened the provisions of the 1999 constitution.

The judge had said that the police acted in bad faith in keeping the detainees beyond the period required by law especially when there was no cogent and verifiable ground of indictment of the applicants for any offence.

Justice Olajuwon, while holding that the detention was illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional, consequently ordered that the seven applicants be released forthwith to their families.

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Police release 7 Boko Haram suspects after three-year unlawful detention

The judge ordered that each applicant be paid a sum of N2 million as damages for their unlawful detention and another N1 million as the cost of litigation that brought about the judgment.

Counsel to the applicants, Aboh, while confirming the release, told our correspondent that the detainees have just been handed over to him and that they are eager to go back to Maiduguri to reunite with their families after three years of separation.

“As I am talking to you, the seven detainees are here with me having just been released on the order of the federal high court in Abuja issued on December 1.

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“Though their detention is arbitrary, unjust and unlawful, they are still happy that police complied with the order of the court and they are in high spirits seeking to travel immediately to Maiduguri where they were arrested,” he said.

He insisted that the detainees were unjustly labelled as Boko Haram suspects by police to justify the unlawful detention.

The lawyer had earlier told journalists that an Abuja based non-governmental organization, Dayspring Life Foundation, stumbled on the detainees and took over the sponsorship of the litigation to rescue them from the claws of police and unlawful detention.

The applicants are Ajiri Bulama Dungus, Gudja Giddah, Adam Mohammed, Wardi Dungus, Fanami Mustapha, Mohammed Abba and Makinka Alhaji Dungus.

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‘What has happened has happened,’ Lagos church backs Sanwo-Olu’s ‘walk of peace’

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'What has happened has happened,' Lagos church backs Sanwo-Olu's 'walk of peace'
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‘What has happened has happened,’ Lagos church backs Sanwo-Olu’s ‘walk of peace’

The Cherubim and Seraphim Movement Church Worldwide, Yaba District Headquarters (Ogo Serafu), has thrown its support on the Peace Walk planned by the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

The Chairman of the church’s 50th Anniversary Celebration, Special Apostle Samuel Sogunro, gave the support on behalf of the church, during a news conference at the church’s headquarters in Ijeshatedo.

Sanwo-Olu had on November 30 called on the youths and other stakeholders to join him on Peace Walk, for healing of Lagos State, after the disturbances that trailed the 2020 #EndSARS protests against police brutality.

The news conference was to announce the 50th Anniversary of the church, the Cathedral Dedication and its 51st Harvest Thanksgiving.

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Sogunro, a former Rector of the Lagos State Polytechnic, said that what had happened was irreversible, but all had to come together and move the nation forward.

According to him, the whole issue about #EndSARS protest and its aftermath came with a lot of lessons learnt.

“The bottom line is that we must move forward as a nation, and we continue to learn everyday. I believe that what heppened during that EndSARS will never repeat itself again.

“So many things, many infrastructure of government were destroyed, I bet you if it had been other states, they will not get over it till thy kingdom come but we want to appreciate the Lagos State Government for rising up to that challenge.

“Lagos State Government has been doing very well, as far as infrastructural development and listens to the masses. So, the Peace Walk is the thing that everyone wants to embrace

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“What has happened has happened, we need to move on, let us come together and forge ahead.

“I believe the government is reasoning in the right direction. So people should join hand with the government to make sure that we come together and build our country ourselves,” he said.

‘What has happened has happened,’ Lagos church backs Sanwo-Olu’s ‘walk of peace’

Sogunro said that the church, formerly known as The Holy Order of Cherubim and Seraphim Church Movement Ijeshatedo, was founded in 1970, by late Senior Apostle Nathaniel Aderibigbe Ajijolaoluwa, in a small shop at Johnson Bus stop, ljesha Road, Surulere, Lagos.

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He said that since inception, the church had exhibited its spirituality and revealed revelations, of which a lot of testimonies abound.

According to him, the church has billed to celebrate its 50+1 anniversary and dedication of its cathedral on December 11, and the Adult Harvest Thanksgiving Service on December 12.

He said that the church had highlighted a lot of activities for the three major programmes, which had started on November 28 with health check, health talk and evangelism.

Sogunro said that there had been praise concert, symposium, visit to orphanage home, with inter-branch Bible Quiz, Prophetic Night on December 8.

He urged Christians to continue to live according to the dictates of the Lord God, so as to live meaningful lives.

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