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FG’s Borders Closure is Primitive and Violates Freedom of Movement – Falana

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Activist lawyer Femi Falana (SAN) has taken a swipe at the federal government over the temporary closure of borders.

He described the policy aimed at combating smuggling as primitive and a contravention of citizens’ constitutional rights to free movement.

The Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) on Wednesday commenced a joint security exercise codenamed “EX-SWIFT RESPONSE” across the south, southwest, north-central and northwest borders aimed at strengthening interagency collaboration towards tackling trans-border security challenges.

Comprised of operatives of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN), Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and other security/intelligence agencies, the exercise involved movement of personnel, vehicles and equipment within the affected parts of the country to ensure peace and security.

Although a statement by spokesman for the NCS Joseph Attah had appealed for calm and continuation of lawful duties from the public; commuters to and fro Nigerian border with Benin Republic have decried their being denied entry/exit for several hours.

Condemning the ordeals of the travellers, Falana said curtailing their movement violated Section 41 of the Constitution and Article 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.

“It is also a breach of article 3 of Protocol on Movement of Persons and Goods. Indeed, border closure is a repudiation of the letter and spirit of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement which was recently signed by Nigeria.

“While the policy of the federal government to fight smuggling cannot be questioned, it should not be implemented in a manner that the businesses of innocent traders and travellers are disrupted or destroyed. Since smugglers operate between 1 am and 4am daily, they are not adversely affected by the temporary closure of borders.

“The point that I am labouring to make is that since the temporary closure of borders cannot effectively curb smuggling, the primitive policy should be reopened forthwith. Instead of closing borders the federal government should put its house in order.

“To the best of my knowledge, all smugglers are known by the operatives of the Customs, Police and State Security Service who serve in the local governments located in the border areas.

“Instead of sentencing all those who travel by road to collective punishment and inconvenience, the federal government has a duty to acquire the necessary technology and fish out the smugglers and their collaborators in the public service and prosecute them without any delay,” he said.

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Beware of Sycophants, Corrupt Politicians, Frank Charges David Lyon

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Ahead of David Lyon’s inauguration as the new governor of Bayelsa state, a political activist and former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Comrade Timi Frank, has called on the incoming Bayelsa state governor to beware of sycophants and corrupt politicians capable of tarnishing the image of the new administration.

Frank also said the incoming governor should consider more competent women and youths in his government and not necessarily appoint people based on friendship or political affiliation.

In a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja on Thursday, the Bayelsa born political activist reminded David Lyon that his victory at the last Bayelsa state governorship election goes beyond the All Progressives Congress (APC) as a party, hence the need for him to run an all inclusive government.

Timi Frank, who expressed confidence that David Lyon will deliver on his campaign promises, said Bayelsa state is still backward in terms of development because the state has not been lucky of a committed governor.

“I will like to congratulate Chief David Lyon as he takes over the mantle of leadership of my state on Friday, 14th Feburary 2020. I expect the new governor to dedicate this laudable success to God and the people of Bayelsa because the last governorship election which produced him goes beyond APC as a political party, it was a vote of no confidence in the outgoing governor and a vote of confidence in the incoming governor.

“Bayelsans voted irrespective of party affiliation for justice, development and a new order in the state. It is my believe that the incoming governor will learn from the outgoing governor, especially how his praise singers turned to boo him at the end of his government.

“It is my believe that the incoming governor will be a governor for all irrespective of tribe, political party, religion or any other sentiments.

“I call on Chief David Lyon to be wary of sycophants and corrupt politicans with bad records with various anti-corruption agencies in the country. This is important because Bayelsans actually voted for David Lyon and it is David Lyon they will hold accountable when the time arises.

“Political jobbers should not have upper hands over technocrats and professionals. Political appointments should not be lopsided. Fairness and justice should however be your watch words.”

While praying to God for wisdom, knowledge and understanding for the incoming Bayelsa governor, Frank urged David Lyon to be firm in taking decisions but always pay attention to the feelings, outcry and demands of Bayelsans.

“I wish the incoming governor will hit the ground running. I wish David Lyon will not abandon projects started by his successors, especially those ones with direct bearing on the lives of Bayelsans.

“David Lyon should not dwell in blame game. Transparency should be given utmost priority. Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo state and Governor Zulum in Borno state are examples of dedication and focus in government today. I hope our amiable Lyon will in no time join the forum of performing governors and the confidence reposed in him by our people will not be in vain,” Timi Frank stated.

The former APC spokesman, however, called on Bayelsans at home and abroad to join hands with the incoming governor to succeed, adding that doing so will be a great interest of the state.

Frank also called on all the aggrieved politicians and leaders at all levels in the state to forget about their personal interests, political affiliations and ethnic sentiments for now but give peace a chance for the new governor to prove himself.

Sign:
Comrade Timi Frank
Political activist
Abuja.

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Bayelsa Governorship: Supreme Court Sided With Bayelsans, Says APC

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Following Tuesday’s ruling of the Supreme Court dismissing Senator Heineken Lokpobiri’s case and affirming the Bayelsa state Governor-elect David Lyon as the valid candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Party’s Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, has reacted to the judgement, saying the Apex Court sided with Bayelsans.

Speaking to newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday after the Supreme Court ruling, the Bayelsa-born APC chieftain said the case instituted by Lokpobiri was baseless.

He, however, stated that the former Senator was well within his legal rights to approach the courts.

Nabena said, “I congratulate the Bayelsa State Governor-elect, Chief David Lyon and all party stakeholders on the Supreme Court ruling affirming David Lyon as the valid APC Governorship candidate for Bayelsa state. The Apex Court in their ruling sided with Bayelsans.

“From the APC primaries to the governorship election, it was clear that Bayelsans knew who they wanted to govern them. The decision of Party members and the Bayelsa electorate was unanimous as seen in the overwhelming votes they gave the governor-elect, David Lyon in the APC direct primaries and the governorship election.

“Although baseless, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri decided to petition the election in the courts. As we can see, that petition has been dismissed and put to rest by the Supreme Court. We are now focussed on delivering our electoral promise to Bayelsans and bring true development which our dear state deserves.

“Finally, Bayelsans can go home and enjoy responsibly a glass of Heineken.”

David Lyon will be inaugurated on February 14, 2020.

A five-member panel of the court led by Justice Mary Peter-Odili unanimously dismissed the appeal filed by Heineken Lokpobiri, who had instituted his case seeking to be declared the valid winner of September 4, 2019 primary election of the All Progressives Congress.

Delivering the lead judgment of the apex court, Justice Inyang Okoro affirmed the January 11, 2020 judgment of the Port Harcourt Division of the Court of Appeal, which had earlier dismissed Lokpobiri’s suit challenging Lyon’s victory in the primary election.

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Buhari Emulating America on Tenure of Service Chiefs to Defeat Terrorism- Ari Gwaska

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A former Chairman of the Federal Character Commission, Alhaji Muhammadu Ari Gwaska, believes President Muhammadu Buhari is following United States of America’s (USA) lead on tenure elongation of Service Chiefs to defeat terrorism.

The National Chairman Pro-Nigeria Elders Council (PRONECO) says it isn’t entirely strange for heads of security architecture to remain in office longer than expected, as the U.S. and other top nations have adopted this strategy at different times to quench insurgency.

According to Alhaji Gwaska, it is unhealthy to change competent and trustworthy hands at a critical time as when there is an ongoing war against terrorism.

The elderstateman made this disclosure after an all-inclusive stakeholders meeting to brainstorm on the state of security in the country.

In 2018, President Donald Trump extended the high year tenure for senior Air Force officers through technical sergeants beginning Feb. 1, 2019.

Similarly, Pakistani Prime Minister, Imran Khan, last year, approved an extension in the tenure of Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa for another three years in “view of regional security environment”.

This was the second time in nearly a decade that the country’s top general had their traditional three-year term extended.

Gwaska noted that Buhari is only taking a leaf from the rest of the world by keeping hold of the Service Chiefs who displayed bravery, gallantry and patriotism.

In his words, “We salute the choice of Mr. President’s appointees manning the security architecture of the country. We resolved that the Security Chiefs have not only refused to shirk in the face of all difficulties, sabotage of their gallant efforts, but have continued to determinedly tackle even renewed atrocities of insurgencies and insurrections with renewed zeal and vigor.

“ Therefore, we resolved that all our serving security chiefs have performed exceeding marvelous individually and collectively in the light of subsisting encumbrances’ and deserves not only to be encouraged, but maintained on their positions to sustain the winning streaks against Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorist and armed bandits up again to torment the country.

“ We perceive the calls by the National Assembly (NASS) and some other questionable characters for the sack of the Service and Security Chiefs as exposure of their veiled conspiracy or manifestation of their insidious plans to finally sink Nigeria in internecine clashes of bloodletting. The meeting therefore resolved that Nigerians owe themselves the moral obligation to discountenanced such campaigns as cajoling Mr. President to sack Security Chiefs smacks of mischief and greasing the evil nest of these unpatriotic elements.

“ It is condemnable and unacceptable because the efforts of current Security Chiefs are worthy of commendation anywhere in the world. Consequently, the meeting wholeheartedly commends their efforts, as we urge Mr. President never to harken to such satanic calls for their sack, as it will create a lacuna and embolden armed enemies to freely feast on Nigeria.

“ The meeting observed and unequivocally affirms that it has also come to the knowledge of this gathering of these wisemen that there are multi-layered deliberate campaigns of calumny are being sponsored by some highly placed individuals in the country. Such are backed by some renegade members of the ruling APC in order to destabilize the nation because they are personally aggrieved for falling out of favour/patronage with the present government.

“ The meeting called on the politicians and other disgruntled elements who are still nursing the wounds of defeat and rejection by the Nigerian masses, in the 2019 general elections; and have resorted to kick-start very early political activities ahead of 2023 should be mindful of the distractions it has implanted in the polity by the method they have employed. We see it as part of ploys, exacerbating insecurities in parts of the country backed by foreign interference and the glaring agenda to destroy Nigeria.”

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