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Lai Mohammed Slams “The Economist” Over Publication On Insurgency In Nigeria

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Lai Mohammed Slams “The Economist”
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Lai Mohammed Slams “The Economist” Over Publication On Insurgency In Nigeria

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has slammed London-based news magazine, The Economist, over an article it published concerning the insurgency in Nigeria.

The article titled, ‘Insurgency, Secessionism and Banditry Threaten Nigeria,’ accused the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), of ineptitude, while lambasting the Nigerian military, alleging that it sometimes sells weapons to insurgents.

Mohammed, at a press briefing in Abuja on Thursday, described the article by the news magazine as inaccurate while pointing out that the organisation is not infallible.

He said the claim by the news magazine that jihadists are carving out a caliphate in the North-East is wrong especially at a time when terrorists are surrendering in droves as a result of pounding by the military.

Lai Mohammed Slams “The Economist” Over Publication On Insurgency In Nigeria

He said, “As you are very much aware, there have been various reactions to the stereotypical story on Nigeria by The Economist. So, we are not about to rehash what has been said about that publication. But before dwelling on the focus of this press briefing, let me make a quick observation.

“The Economist Group, of which The Economist magazine is an integral part, has been wrong about Nigeria before, just as it is wrong about Nigeria this time around. Recall, gentlemen, that shortly before the 2019 general elections, The Economist Intelligence Unit, also from the stable of The Economist Group, predicted that the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar, will win the election. Well, The Economist was wrong. President Muhammadu Buhari won re-election by over 3 million votes. So, The Economist and other arms of the group are not infallible.

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“Now, to the focus of today’s briefing. Gentlemen, the Nigerian press is reputed to be one of the most vibrant in the world. This is not a fluke. The Nigerian press has indeed earned its epaulets, and its vibrancy has been honed by years of fearlessly taking on whoever crosses its path, whether they are colonialists or military rulers. It is therefore not a surprise that the media was assigned a role by the 1999 Constitution. Section 22 of the 1999 Constitution tasks the press, radio, television and other agencies of the mass media to, at all times, be free to uphold the responsibility and accountability of the government to the people.

Lai Mohammed Slams “The Economist” Over Publication On Insurgency In Nigeria

“In simple English, the Nigerian press has a watchdog role assigned to it by the framers of our Constitution. Please note the catchphrase, WATCHDOG. The Cambridge English Dictionary defines ‘watchdog’ as ”a person or organisation responsible for making certain that companies obey particular standards and do not act illegally:” The Constitution never envisages or mandates the Nigerian press to be a LAPDOG, which is defined by the same dictionary as ”someone who is willing to do anything that a more important person tells them to do”. As a matter of fact, the Nigerian press cannot and must not play the role of a LAPDOG.

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“The idea of the Nigerian media, especially the traditional media, regurgitating anything and everything published or reported by its foreign counterpart is totally antithetical to its reputation of independence and vibrancy. The Nigerian media does itself a great disservice by turning itself into an echo chamber of the foreign media.

“When The Economist reported its patently-wrong and badly-researched story, it was immediately amplified by the local media, without even interrogating its content? This is totally unconscionable! For example, The Economist reported that the Jihadist threat in the North-east has ‘metastasized’, and everyone knows that this is totally inaccurate. Prior to the time it was dislodged, which was before Dec. 2015 when I led a team of local and international journalists to Bama in Borno State, Boko Haram established the headquarters of its so-called Caliphate in that town (Bama), where it hoisted its flag, collected taxes as well as installed and removed Emirs at will. Today, Boko Haram has no Caliphate anywhere in Nigeria. Yet, the Nigerian press regurgitated that report by The Economist.

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“Again, at a time that Boko Haram and ISWAP are taking on each other in a mutually-destructive lockstep, and at a time that the terrorists are surrendering in droves as a result of heavy pounding by the military, it is wrong to say that Jihadists are carving out a Caliphate in the North-East, as the Economist reported. In any case, why would the Nigerian media become an echo chamber for a foreign newspaper that denigrates the Nigerian military and makes light of the sacrifices of our valiant troops? Would the British or American press regurgitate a report in the Nigerian press denigrating their militaries?

“Gentlemen, I do not believe that the Nigerian media hates this country, neither will I agree that the media does not appreciate our military. But I appeal to you to stop endorsing the denigration of our country, our military, our institutions by some unscrupulous foreign media. By regurgitating their inaccurate stories about Nigeria, you are endorsing their stand. The Nigerian media was mandated to be a watchdog, not a lapdog.”

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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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